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Arntz (Wilhelm) collection of rare exhibition catalogs and printed ephemera
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Materials

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections
    Title: Wilhelm Arntz collection of rare exhibition catalogs and printed ephemera
    Creator: Arntz, Wilhelm F.
    Identifier/Call Number: 2002.M.13
    Identifier/Call Number: /repositories/3/resources/223
    Physical Description: 121.67 Linear Feet (276 boxes, 4 oversize boxes)
    Date (inclusive): approximately 1900-1985
    Abstract: Collected by the German art expert Wilhelm Arntz, the ephemera document exhibitions, sales and publishing of 20th century art mainly in Germany, Italy, and France, but also in other European countries, the United States, and South America. Represented are not only well-established artists but also a profusion of lesser known artists as well as numerous emerging artists who became well-known after the mid 1980s. Among the institutions are European and American art museums and exhibition venues, publishing- and auction houses, printing presses, art fairs, and a vast number of art galleries.
    Material Specific Details: Most of the pre World War II exhibition catalogs and other rare publications were pulled from the collection and are now cataloged separately.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy  .
    Language of Material: Collection material is predominantly in German, English, French, and Italian, with most other European languages also present.


    Organized in three series: Series I. Artists, circa 1900-1985; Series II. Institutions, circa 1900-1985; Series III. Offprints, circa 1900-1985.

    Biographical / Historical

    Wilhelm Friedrich Arntz (1903-1985) was a German lawyer, art expert and independent researcher of 20th century art. He was also one of the early collectors of German Expressionism. Parallel to collecting artworks, he acquired publications on art and compiled a wealth of archival material, including newspaper clippings, correspondence of artists, art historians and dealers, and ephemeral items such as invitations to exhibition openings.
    Arntz began his professional career in the 1930s as the political editor for the newspaper Frankurter Generalanzeiger. He was then hired as a foreign correspondent for the HUCK-Verband, a major German newspaper trust in London in the 1930s. After the war Arntz worked as head of the department of cultural affairs (Kulturreferat) in Stuttgart. In 1947, together with Robert Norman Ketterer, he founded the auction house Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett where he worked until the mid 1950s as a consultant and expert on 20th century art. Subsequently, he worked until 1978 for the auction house Kunsthaus Lempertz in Cologne. At the same time, he served as an expert on forgery in various legal proceedings. As a lawyer he was also involved in cases concerning property law and restitution of artwork confiscated by the Nazis, as well as insurance, tax matters, copyright law, and protection of cultural patrimony.
    His collection of books, printed ephemera and archival material, known as the Kunstarchiv Arntz, kept in his private home in Haag, in Bavaria, served as the source of information for his various professional activities. With certain limitations, he made his collection available to the public and allowed students and colleagues to conduct research in his home.


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The collection was acquired in 1985.

    Preferred Citation

    Wilhelm Arntz collection of rare exhibition catalogs and printed ephemera, circa 1900-1985. Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 2002.M.13

    Processing Information

    The project was initiated and developed by Isotta Poggi, and continued and finalized by Isabella Zuralski. Between 2005 and 2010 Giovanna Zamboni, Isotta Poggi, and Isabella Zuralski processed and rehoused the collection. Isabella Zuralski established the final series arrangement and continued processing and writing the finding aid from 2010 until completion in August 2014.

    Scope and Contents

    Collected by the German art expert, Wilhelm Arntz, the ephemera documents exhibitions, sales and publishing of 20th century art mainly in Germany, Italy, and France, and most other European countries, including Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and also in the United States, Mexico and South America. The predominant portion of the material dates from the 1950s to the early 1980s, but there is also a substantial amount of material dating from the 1920s and 1930s and from the time before World War I.
    Series I includes publications and materials concerning individual artist or architect as well as artists groups and art movements such as Dada or Futurism. Series II includes publications concerning more then one artist or art-related topics that can be filed under the name of the gallery, museum, publishing firm or other institution. Series III includes offprints on various topics, predominantly 20th century art and architecture. Items that could not be filed with any of the three series are filed unsorted at the end of Series III.
    Occasionallty present are original graphics and restrikes, of which some are signed by the artists.

    Related Materials

    Archival material compiled by Arntz is available for research in the Getty Research Library's Special Collections (accn. no. 840001).
    Books and periodicals collected by Arntz are available for research in the Getty Research Library's Special and Core Collections.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Art publishing -- Europe
    Exhibition catalogs -- 20th century
    Art, Modern -- 20th century
    Printed ephemera -- 20th century
    Private presses -- Europe
    Invitations -- 20th century
    Announcements -- 20th century
    Artists -- South America -- Exhibitions
    Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Exhibitions
    Artists -- Europe -- Exhibitions
    Artists-United States -- Exhibitions
    Art museums -- Europe
    Art museums -- United States
    Art galleries, Commercial -- Europe
    Art galleries, Commercial -- United States