Elisabeth Tonnard

The Library

This book is a library. The images in it are tiny selections from pictures in a catalogue documenting the losses of the Gemäldegalerie at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, the present-day Bode Museum, in Berlin during and after World War II. The Gemäldegalerie lost over four hundred paintings, the sculpture collection at the museum lost about a third of its holdings. Photographic documentation and plaster casts remain as ghostly echoes of what was once there. The majority of losses occurred in the days just before and after the end of the war in May 1945 when two devastating fires in the Friedrichshain flak tower destroyed most of the major works of art that had been stored there for safekeeping. The cause of the fires was never explained and has become the subject of legend. Trapped in there were the paintings these images refer to. Out of the smoke we think up this library of unknown books.

Digital print, exposed sewing, size 10.5 x 14.8 cm, 56 pages. See more images here. See a short discussion by Sarah Bodman here. The book was nominated for the Révélation Jeunes Talents Livre d’Artiste by the ADAGP, France, 2016.

Published in Leerdam, The Netherlands, November 2015. Edition of 150 copies.

Priced at € 24,- plus shipping. Order through the webshop or by email.

The project is extended by a series of eight pigment ink prints (30 x 40 cm each, edition of 3 copies).

This book is available in the collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Bibliothèque Kandinsky (Centre Pompidou), Bodleian Library (special collections at Weston Library), Bower Ashton Library at UWE Bristol, Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, Getty Museum, International Center for Photography, Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature, John M. Flaxman Library at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago (Joan Flasch collection), Kunstbibliothek (Berlin), MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona), MoMA Library, Mumok Vienna, National Library of The Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek), Nederlands Fotomuseum, New York Public Library, RKD Netherlands Institute for Art History, Thomas J. Watson library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Van Abbemuseum, Winchester School of Art Library, and Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Munich).

Written by Elisabeth Tonnard

November 3, 2015 at 3:54 pm