Kunsthalle / We are digital

The Graphic Collection is now online // The Graphic Collection of the Kunsthalle Mannheim contains around 30,000 light-sensitive works. These works—not the originals, but rather the digital versions—are now being gradually brought to light in high-resolution images. These are accessible online and around the clock. The first 1,500 masterpieces are already live, and more are being added every month. The Graphic Online project is a part of Kunsthalle Mannheim’s digitalization efforts.
Light is the worst enemy of works on paper.

The sensitive artworks can only be displayed for a few weeks, before being returned to a dark warehouse for years. The graphic works must go through a slow and closely monitored process before they can appear online in a split second: After the fragile sheets of paper have been carefully lifted from the large portfolio folders and archive boxes, they are meticulously photographed. The aim of this process is to convey not only the quality of the pencil, charcoal line, or the watercolor tone, but also to convey the look of the paper and how it has it has aged. Basic information from historic inventory books and old card catalogs is checked and entered into the database. “Our collection boasts many excellent works by artists who are largely unknown,” explains Thomas Köllhofer, curator of the Graphic Collection. “This means that researching even the most basic details of the work and the artist’s life is a real adventure.”

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