With the opening of the new rooms on the 2nd floor on 20 September 2012, the Casa di Goethe has taken over the library of the Deutscher Künstlerverein. After its eventful history, marked by divisions and relocations as a result of the two world wars, this historically valuable collection of books has now found its hopefully permanent location in the Casa di Goethe.
In 1900, the library that the Deutscher Künstlerverein had built up during its active period from 1845 to 1915 also included the holdings of older libraries that had been created specifically for the German artists living in Rome: the communal reading library of Carl Ludwig Fernow (1795), the “Bibliothek der Deutschen” (1821) and finallz the “Bibliothek der Deutschen Künstler” (1832). Like no other, this collection of books reflects the use of literature by German artists in Rome during the long 19th century. This applies both to the more than 4,700 preserved bound resources with their dedications, marginal notes and sketches as well as to the historical library documents: The archive of the Künstlerverein, which is now also kept in the Casa di Goethe, not only contains the catalogues of all the historical German artist libraries in Rome, but also their access and lending directories.
Photo Enrico Fontolan
The cataloguing, reconstruction and scientific evaluation of the Künstlervereinsbibliothek are the declared aims of the project Künstlerwissen und Künstlerlektüre im Rom des 19. Jahrhunderts (Artist Knowledge and Artist Reading in Rome in the 19th Century), which is generously supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaftand which is currently carried out by the Casa di Goethe in cooperation with the Department of Art History of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. For this purpose, an online catalogue is being created which contains the titles of preserved and lost resources. In addition, all title data sets will be extended to include information on provenance and use, so that this information will also be made permanently accessible to the research community. At the same time, a monograph will be written which, in addition to reconstructing the history of the German artists' libraries in Rome and evaluating their use, will contain an extensive appendix with the most important library documents. After completion of the project, the research results will be presented in an exhibition here at the Casa di Goethe.
Rome, December 2017
Dr. Maria Gazzetti
Director of the Casa di Goethe