Duke Franz of Bavaria Library

Duke Franz of Bavaria, a collector of contemporary painting and graphic art, donated his extensive library on modern art to the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, in spring 2009.  The book holdings of around 15,000 volumes, assembled over several decades, comprise catalogues raisonnés and artist monographs, exhibition and gallery catalogues, as well as artists’ books on twentieth-century and contemporary art. The collection consists primarily of printed books and ephemera, but not multimedia or archival material. Assembled with encyclopaedic breadth and deeply specialised in numerous areas, the Duke Franz Library forms a corpus on art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries particularly since the 1960s, but also thoroughly covering art of the first half of the twentieth century, especially German expressionism.

The emphasis is on the artistic genres of international painting, graphic arts, sculpture, installations, and photography.  Works on architecture are represented selectively, these mainly consisting of monographs on architects.  The same may be said for the areas of design and applied arts, and particularly for film and performing arts, of which only a special selection is included. The percentage of publications not previously available in the Zentralinstitut is astonishingly high, at around 40 percent. These works are primarily gallery catalogues and productions such as artists’ books or special editions of great rarity.

The donation was celebrated with a ceremony on 3 April 2009 in the large reading room of the library in the presence of the donor and of the Bavarian State Minister for Science, Research, and Art.  The ceremonial address was given by Walter Grasskamp.

In addition, in 2010 Duke Franz donated a valuable collection of artists’ books and limited editions of gallery catalogues with autograph prints to the library of the Zentralinstitut. The artists’ books relate primarily to the Munich context, while the catalogues mainly consist of a collection of items from the 1960s to the present assembled by the gallerist Fred Jahn.

Since 2009 H.R.H. Duke Franz has also supported the library’s ongoing acquisitions of works on twentieth and twenty-first century art in an extremely generous manner.

The bookplate designed by Heinz Butz for the books donated by Duke Franz of Bavaria

All of the books donated by Duke Franz of Bavaria are furnished with a special donation bookplate designed by the artist Heinz Butz (*1925), who taught at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts for many years. Production of the bookplate is made possible by the bookseller and publisher Walther König.

After donation of other relevant gifts in recent years, for instance gifts from the estates of the Munich gallery owners Etta and Otto Stangl and the art critic Doris Schmidt, the support of Duke Franz of Bavaria marks the decisive step for establishing a focus on twentieth- and twenty-first-century art at the library of the ZI.