Kunsthaus Zürich

Artist's letters

Dr. Wilhelm Wartmann (1882-1970) was head of the Kunsthaus Zürich from 1909 to 1949, first with the title «Erster Sekretärs» (first secretary) and since 1925 as official director of the museum. From his period of office of forty years more than 10000 letters are kept in the archive of the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft and the Kunsthaus Zürich which were written by artists and often directly addressed to Dr. Wilhelm Wartmann.

Within the framwork of the project «Artist's letters», which started in May 2015, first these letters are repacked unfolded and individually in archival paper and then catalogued. 2000 selected letters have already been published online (Collections online).

Among the senders next to young artists who never became well known a second group of Swiss artists is found, whose works of art were frequently exhibited in their time. Some these were also bought be the museum and are still part of the collection. Finally, the archive contains letters of today canonized and internationally recognized artists, whose relevance was evident mostly already in the first half of last century.

Using the copies of the outgoing correspondence, exhibition catalogues, the annual report of the museum and other sources of information usually it is possible to identify all artists clearly. Furthermore the letters, postcards and telegrams normally can also be dated exactly. All letters are catalogued in the library catalogue Each week added items can be found here, which were completely unknown before.

The project «Artist's letters» is supported by the Minerva Kunststiftung.

Brief von Edvard Munch an Wilhelm Wartmann vom 3.6.1931
Letter from Edvard Munch to Wilhelm Wartmann dated 3.6.1931
Letter from Edvard Munch to Wilhelm Wartmann dated 3.6.1931