Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Max Raphael papers
Collection Number: 920050
Raphael, Max, 1889-1952
ca. 9.5 lin. ft. (18 boxes)
Getty Research Institute
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California 90049-1688
Modernist art historian, born in Poland (1889), died in the United States (1952). Papers contain approximately 6 linear feet
of manuscripts (many unpublished) on philosophy, artists and art (ancient, medieval and modern), the sociology of art, architects
and architecture, as well as the natural sciences, literature and Marxism. Correspondence among his disciple Ilse Hirschfeld,
his wife, Emma Raphael, Claude Schaefer, his literary executor and disciple, and publishers, editors, students, and scholars
documents the efforts to translate, interpret, and publish his writings after his death. These letters, many of which are
copies transcribed by Hirschfeld, primarily date between 1952-1989 and number over 2,000. In addition there are ca. 50 postcards,
telegrams and letters from Max Raphael to Ilse Hirschfeld, 1932 and 1952. Forty-four reels of microfilm contain copies of
the Raphael papers in the Germanishes Nationalmuseum, Nuremburg.
Language: Collection material in German
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Max Raphael papers, 1931-1989, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 920050
The Getty purchased the collection in 1992.
After the 1992 purchase, some of the collection became disorganized when boxes fell in an earthquake. It was organized, arranged
and described by Rose Lachman in late 1994.
Max Raphael, art historian and philosopher, was born August 27, 1889 in Schönlanke (West Prussia), Germany. Beginning in 1900
he studied jurisprudence and political economy with Gustav von Schmoller in Berlin and with Lujo Brentano in Münich. Against
his father's wishes he changed his course of study to philosophy (with Georg Simmel) and the history of art (with Heinrich
In 1911 he met Picasso, studied the works of the Impressionists and Matisse and Cezanne. He became friendly with Max Pechstein
and artists of the Blaue Reiter school. Then in 1913 he published his first book,
Von Monet zu Picasso which, as a dissertation, was turned down by Wölfflin. During 1912-1913 he lived in Paris and primarily worked on French
medieval art, especially the stained glass of Chartres. Raphael moved to Lake Constance where he studied and wrote on such
diverse topics as geology, biology, botany, medieval history and Shakespeare. He was inducted into the German army in 1915,
deserted in 1917 and subsequently moved to Switzerland where he published a war diary,
Geist wider Macht.
Raphael returned to Berlin in 1920 and published his second book,
Idee and Gestalt, which he later rejected. He published articles in various art newspapers aligning himself with the Secessionist and Expressionist
movements. Between 1925-1932 he taught at the Berlin Volkshochschule and it was here that he first confronted the Socialist
movement. During this period he published
Der dorische Tempel and
Zur Kunsttheorie des dialektischen Materialismus.
In 1932 Raphael left Germany, resigning from the Volkshochschule after his course on dialectical materialism in Greece was
rejected. Until 1939 he lived in Paris in very poor circumstances. With the help of friends he was able to publish
Proudhon Marx Picasso in 1933 and
Zur Erkenntnistheorie der konkreten Dialektik in 1934, with a French edition in 1938. During this time he studied the French Romanesque period, wrote on Flaubert, and
Arbeiter, Kunst und Künstler, not published until 1978. He also worked with the architect André Lurçat, in whose studio he gave lectures on modern architecture.
During World War II, Raphael was interned twice in France at Gurs and Les Milles but was able to immigrate to the United States
in 1941. Until his death in 1952 he lived and worked in New York and was engaged with the problem of art history as a science.
He wrote on the development of national socialism in Germany and began essays for his book,
Kunstgeschichte als Wissenschaft. His essays on Egyptian and prehistoric art were based on his lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and were meant to
prove his theories of “empirischen Kunstwissenschaft”. He published two books from this material,
Prehistoric Cave Pottery in 1945 and
Prehistoric Pottery and Civilization in Egypt in 1947. The compilation of his analysis of works by artists such as El Greco, Hals, Tintoretto, Giotto, Picasso and Cézanne,
became the manuscript for
Wie will ein Kunstwerk gesehen sein?. Two further volumes were planned, one on architecture and one on sculpture, as well as a three volume work,
Zur Ikonographie der quaternären Kunst.
His works reflect his attempt to forge a scientific methodology, on material foundations, for the analysis of artistic creation
and the sociology of art.
Raphael committed suicide on July 14, 1952. Through the efforts of his wife, Emma Raphael, and a disciple, Ilse Hirschfeld,
many of Max Raphael's works have been translated and published.
Scope and Content of Collection
Max Raphael's manuscripts comprise the bulk of this collection. In his exploration of Marxist art theory and his attempt to
establish a scientific methodology for art history he ranged widely in subject matter from prehistoric art to modernism, architecture
and natural science, and this is reflected in these manuscripts which date from ca. 1931-1976. Of particular interest are
his writings on philosophy, art, architecture, the sociology of art, Marxist theory of art and history as reflected through
art. Many of the manuscripts are unpublished and undated, several contain Raphael's annotations and are filed with his notes
and assorted printed ephemera. A number of the manuscripts were transcribed by others.
An extensive correspondence, 1941-1990 (bulk 1950-88), between disciples, publishers, scholars and students documents the
attempts to interpret, translate and publish Raphael's work after his death in 1952. Significant correspondents include Raphael's
disciple Ilse Hirschfeld, his wife Emma Raphael, Claude Schaffer, Raphael's executor and disciple, and Robert Cohen, editor
of Raphael texts. Letters also concern the formation of the International Max Raphael Society. Many of the letters are copies
transcribed by Ilse Hirschfeld. Also included are original letters, telegrams and postcards from Raphael to Ilse Hirschfeld,
ca. 1932-1951, about his work and personal matters.
A disciple of Max Raphael, Ilse Hirschfeld sought his acquaintance after reading
Von Monet zu Picasso. Beginning in 1928 she attended his guided tours at the Berlin Museum and his lectures at the Berlin, Volkshochschule. After
Raphael immigrated she remained in constant touch with him until his death in New York. He made all his works available to
her in manuscript form and after his death she committed herself to preparing his works for publication.
Manuscripts and correspondence includes Raphael's manuscripts, notes and printed ephemera (ca. 5 lin. ft.), as well as his
letters to Ilse Hirschfeld (ca. 50 items). Correspondence about Raphael concerns the effort to promote and publish his writings
after his death and comprises more than 2,000 letters. Also included are 4 notebooks by Hirschfeld documenting these efforts.
Raphael papers on microfilm consists of 44 microfilm reels of the Raphael papers that were deposited with the Germanisches
Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, ca. 1970. Included are partial photocopies from the reels and an inventory to the microfilm.
Raphael, Max, 1889-1952
Cezanne, Paul, 1839-1906
Marx, Karl, 1818-1883
Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973
Aesthetics, Modern—19th century
Aesthetics, Modern—20th century
Aesthetics and the philosophy of art
Art and society
Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.)
Creation in art
Knowledge, Theory of
Painting, Modern—19th century
Painting, Modern—20th century
Cohen, R. S. (Robert Sonné)
Raphael, Max, 1889-1952
Perret, Auguste, 1874-1954
Schaeffer, Claude F.-A. (Claude Frédéric-Armand), 1898-1982
Arbeiter, kunst und künstler
Demands of art
Prehistoric cave paintings
Proudhon, Marx, Picasso
Theorie des geistigen Schaffens auf marxistischer Grundlage
Von Monet zu Picasso