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Maria Sybilla Merian, Steinklee (Gelbe Blüte) mit Schmetterlingen, vor 1683, Deckfarben, Pergament

Collection of Prints and Drawings

The holdings of the Collection of Prints and Drawings are among the oldest and most valuable in the museum. Their foundation was laid by Grand Duke Ludewig I, who began collecting prints by Dürer and Rembrandt around 1800. Today, the Collection of Prints and Drawings offers a chance to explore the full diversity of art on paper.

Albrecht Dürer, Adam und Eva, 1504, Kupferstich

Since the fragile material of paper cannot be permanently exhibited, the sensitive works are usually stored in climate-controlled depots to protect them from light. The Karl Freund Gallery regularly hosts rotating exhibitions featuring selections from the graphic holdings. In addition, interested parties are invited to visit our study room during special opening hours and by appointment to have the original drawings and prints presented. Directly in front of the eyes – without glass and frame – this is an extraordinary art experience!

The Collection of Prints and Drawings currently encompasses around 50,000 sheets, spanning all periods of drawing and printmaking from the 12th to the 21st century. In addition, the collection includes a historical poster collection and photographs from the 19th to the 21st century. The collection also has special departments with a focus on ex libris, commercial graphics or – in the case of the "Hofmeister Collection" – historical portraits and topographical views of Hesse.

George Grosz, Der Mädchenhändler, 1918, Bleistift, Feder, Aquarell © Estate of George Grosz, Princeton, N.J. / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

In particular, the German, Dutch, Italian and French Old Master drawings of the 15th to 18th centuries establish the international reputation of the Collection of Prints and Drawings. These include drawings by Dürer, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Bellotto or Watteau. Other highlights feature precious, highly sensitive medieval book paintings on parchment, the outstanding print holdings of Dürer and Rembrandt, as well as rare early single-sheet woodcuts and copper engravings.

In the 19th century, the focus of the collection is on Romantic drawings, including works by Carl Philipp Fohr or Georg Moller. The 20th century is prominently represented with Art Nouveau, German Expressionism, American and German Minimal and Pop Art graphics. A significant emphasis is placed on the works of Joseph Beuys and his students, such as Imi Knoebel or Blinky Palermo. The collection is continued with works by Annegret Soltau or Anke Röhrscheid, among others, up to the present day.

Die Haupthalle im Eingangsbereich des Hessischen Landesmuseums

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