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Lang (Lothar) Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lothar Lang collection of East German art ephemera
    Date (inclusive): 1930, 1953-1992
    Number: 920100
    Creator/Collector: Lang, Lothar
    Physical Description: 13 Linear Feet (29 boxes, 1 flatfile folder)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Compiled by German art historian Lothar Lang, the collection represents the work and activity of over 700 artists and institutions in East Germany in the latter half of the 20th century. The bulk of the collection is composed of artists' and institutions' files containing exhibition announcements, leaflets, photographs, offprints, negatives, press and book clippings, and correspondence. The artists' and institutions' files also include six posters for the political cabaret Distel in East Berlin, eleven oversize color reproductions of paintings, one oversize black-and white reproduction of a woodcut, and one oversize black-and-white reproduction of an illustration. The collection also contains eight LP records and a clay plaque commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle.
    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: Collection material is in German.

    Biographical Note

    Lothar Lang (1928 March 20 - 2013 July 20) was a prominent East German art historian, art critic, and writer who specialized in East German art and in book arts. Born in Saxony, Lang grew up in Thuringia. In the fall of 1944, he was conscripted into the Hitler Youth and from there into military service, but deserted in May 1945, an action that he describes in his autobiography Ein Leben für die Kunst (2009) as stemming from "youthful foolishness" rather than from courage. After World War II, Lang joined the Communist Party and studied art history, philosophy, sociology, and history under the auspices of the Landesamt für Volksbildung in a coordinated program at the Brandenburg Landeshochschule in Potsdam and the Pädagogisches Zentralinstitut in Berlin. In 1955, he became the Senior Assistant at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Potsdam, and began teaching Aesthetics at the Institut für Lehrerweiterbildung/Musikerziehung in Berlin-Weißensee, a division of the Pädagogische Hochschule, in 1957. There, he founded an art gallery, the Kunstkabinett, in 1962, in order to provide a forum for students and young artists. This gallery, one of the few new venues for art in the young German Democratic Republic, went on to host over 300 exhibitions, readings, and performances before the Ministerium für Volksbildung ordered it closed and Lang fired in 1968. In 1957, Lang also began his career as an art critic with the journal Die Weltbühne, a post he held until 1991; from 1964 to 1998, he edited the periodical Marginalien, published by the Pirckheimer Society for Bibliophilia and Book Arts. In 1965, Lang founded the Kabinettpresse Berlin, which printed twenty graphics collections from the date of its founding through 1974, and from 1980 to 1989, he served as museum director at the Staatliches Museum Schloß Burgk (Thuringia). From 1975 to 1991, together with Hans Marquardt, Lang edited thirty-three editions of original graphic works for the Reclam Publishing Company. Lang compiled this collection while undertaking these activities. In addition to his autobiography, Lang published several titles on art of the German Democratic Republic, as well as works on book arts such as Expressionistische Buchkunst in Deutschland (1975) and Konstruktivismus and Buchkunst (1990).

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Lothar Lang collection of East German artist ephemera, 1930-1992, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 920100.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1992.

    Processing History

    The collection was arranged and described by Julia Kim in 2015 under the supervision of Sue Tyson, who edited the finding aid and added some information to the Biographical/Historical Note. Prior to processing, printed materials were found pre-sorted by file level; the Registrar's Office provided initial rehousing of materials into plastic sleeves, which were replaced by archival folders.

    Related Materials

    Related archival materials include the German Democratic Republic collections, 1928-1993 (bulk 1950-1993), which include the Lothar Lang papers; and the CM collection (1980-2982), comprising a set of prints by the Clara Mosch artists' group and containing work by several artists represented in the Lothar Lang collection including Thomas Ranft, Dagmar Ranft-Schinke, Michael Morgner, Gregor-Torsten Kozik, and Ralf-Rainer Wasse, Special Collections call number NE654.6 .C5 1980.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection represents the work and activity of over 700 artists and institutions in East Germany from approximately 1953 to 1992; it also includes one item from 1930. Files contain an assortment of exhibition announcements, leaflets, photographs, offprints, negatives, press and book clippings, correspondence, other miscellaneous ephemera, posters, phonograph records, and a commemorative plaque. The materials were collected by Lothar Lang while running a gallery, the Kunstkabinett, in East Berlin from 1962 to 1968; while heading the Kabinett-Presse; and later during his tenure as museum director in Burgk, Thuringia in the 1980s. The collection represents approximately 725 East German artists, covering well-known individuals as well as lesser-known artists. Artists who are strongly featured in the collection include Willi Sitte (who served as president of the Association of Visual Artists of the German Democratic Republic), Fritz Cremer, John Heartfield, Werner Klemke, and Hans Grundig.
    The Artists series comprises the bulk of the collection and consists of records and ephemera related to individual artists dating from 1930 to 1992. The series also includes a few files related to artist couples, filed under their shared last name; eleven oversize color reproductions of paintings; one oversize black-and white reproduction of a woodcut; and one oversize black-and-white reproduction of an illustration.
    The Galleries and institutions series consists of records and ephemera dating from 1953 to 1991. Files are arranged alphabetically by name of city. The series also includes six posters from between 1965 and 1974 that advertise programs of the East Berlin-based political cabaret Distel. This still-extant satirical troupe of the German Democratic Republic began running performances with its own house ensemble beginning in 1953.
    The Phonograph records and realia series contains eight longplay phonograph records and one earthenware plaque commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle.


    The collection is arranged in three series:
    Series I. Artists, 1930-1992, undated; Series II. Galleries and institutions, 1953-1991, undated; Series III. Phonograph records and realia, 1966-1990
    Materials pertaining to individual artists and artist couples comprise the bulk of the collection, and form the first series. The original alphabetical order was maintained for the first series, and items or files that were found to be out of existing order were correctly integrated. Additional materials related to group shows and other art-related events were also sleeved separately, but found dispersed throughout the collection; these materials were consolidated to form the second series, and are arranged alphabetically by name of city. Oversize printed reproductions and posters have been listed with the above two series.The third series comprises eight LP records arranged in alphabetical order by cover title or, in the case of the recordings, by number in series; and one earthenware plaque, which is housed in its own box.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Collectors and collecting -- Germany (East)
    Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Exhibitions
    Art -- Exhibitions -- Germany (East)
    Art historians -- Germany (East)
    Art historians as collectors -- Germany (East)
    Art galleries, Commercial -- Germany (East)
    Artists -- Germany (East) -- Exhibitions
    Art publishing -- Germany (East)

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Ephemera -- 20th century
    Clippings -- 20th century
    Printed ephemera -- Germany (East) -- 20th century
    Announcements -- 20th century
    Posters -- Germany (East) -- 20th century


    Lang, Lothar