Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Hans and Lily Hildebrandt papers
Date (inclusive): 1899-1979
Hildebrandt, Lily, 1887-1974
28 Linear Feet
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
Business Number: (310) 440-7390
Fax Number: (310) 440-7780
Hans Hildebrandt was a German art
historian and critic and Lily Uhlmann Hildebrandt, a glass painter, photographer, and
journalist. They were long active in Stuttgart, Germany, where their house was a
gathering place for artists, including Ida Kerkovius, Johannes Itten, and Oskar
Schlemmer. They formed an art collection that comprised works by Josef Albers, Alexander
Archipenko, Willi Baumeister, Hans Brühlmann, Lyonel Feiniger, Hannah Höch, Adolf
Hölzel, Johannes Itten, Ida Kerkovius, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, and Kurt Schwitters.
Their papers provide a comprehensive record of their life and work reflecting their
interests in modern art, architecture, and the decorative arts, as well as their close
friendships with leading painters and architects. The papers consist of personal and
professional correspondence, manuscripts, research notes, bibliographies, publications,
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Language: Collection material is in German
Hans Hildebrandt was a German art historian and critic whose interests spanned modern
art, architecture, and the decorative arts. Among his publications are
Die Architektur bei Albrecht Altdorfer (1908),
Adolf Hölzel als Zeichner (1913),
Die Kunst des 19. und 20.
(1952). Hildebrandt and his wife Lily Uhlmann Hildebrandt, a painter and a collaborator
on his research projects, maintained close friendships with painters and architects,
among them Willi Baumeister, Hans Brühlmann, Walter Gropius, Hannah Höch, Adolf Hölzel,
Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Le Corbusier, Oskar Schlemmer, Hermann Stenner, Henry
van de Velde, and Wilhem Wagenfeld.
Born in Staufen near Freiburg in 1878, Hans Hildebrandt was the son of a city
administrator and art collector. He completed his law studies in 1904 with highest
honors but chose not to take his state examinations. Instead, he turned to the study of
art history and philosophy in Munich, where he became an active member of the
Akademischen Verein für bildende Kunst. Four years later, he
completed his dissertation on the depiction of architecture in the paintings of Albrecht
Aldorfer, "Die Architektur bei Albrecht Altdorfer," while a student of Henry Thode at
the University of Heidelberg.
In 1908, shortly after completing his studies, Hans married the young painter, Lily
Uhlmann. After their marriage, the couple initially lived in Munich and then moved to
Stuttgart in 1911, where Hans took on a position as instructor (Privatdozent) in modern
art history at the Technische Hochschule, Stuttgart. During this period, Hildebrandt
began working on the quarterly journal
Die Form. He
supplemented their income by publishing numerous essays for newspapers and magazines, as
well as critical articles on contemporary art and architecture. In 1913, he became a
member of the
Deutscher Werkbund, an association of
artists, architects, designers and industrialists, and he contributed a fairytale play,
Amulett, which was performed at the first Werkbund Exhibition of 1914
in Cologne, Germany.
Hildebrandt was precluded from service in World War I due to respiratory illness. In
reaction to German militarism, he founded the Süddeutsche Nachrichtenstelle für die
Neutralen, which distributed anti-war literature until the November Revolution of 1918.
Hildebrandt condemned the war but felt isolated and persecuted for his views.
Hildebrandt's perspectives on war appeared in his book
, and his article, "Kunst und Nationalität," which were both issued in
The publication of Hans Hildebrandt's
Habilitation in 1920,
and the invitation by Albert Erich Brinckmann to publish
, initiated the most productive phase of Hans
Hildebrandt's career. During this time he undertook a series of monographs on artists
such as Alexander Archipenko and Hans Brühlmann. Following a trip to Paris in the Spring
of 1924, Hildebrandt was invited by the architect Le Corbusier to translate his books
Vers une architecture and
Urbanisme into German. Hildebrandt's reputation as an innovator in art
history was furthered by the publication of
Die Frau als
in 1928, which was one of the first comprehensive surveys of women
artists from the antiquity to the present.
Uhlmann, who went on to become a glass painter, photographer, book illustrator, graphic
artist, painter, and journalist, was born in 1887 into an upper-class family in Fürth
near Nuremberg. Her father, Sebastian Uhlmann, was director of the Berliner Union-Werke
in Mannheim. Her parents, while of Jewish descent, did not belong to any religion as of
1908. Lily was baptized Protestant. In 1905-1906, she studied at Adolf Meyer's private
painting school in Berlin and befriended Ida Kerkovius, the painter and weaver, who
remained a close friend throughout her life.
Lily was enrolled in the Württemberg Akademie der bildenden Künste (now Staatliche
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Stuttgart) from 1910 to 1913 and as a master student of
Adolf Hözel from 1912 to 1914. Hözel became a close friend of the couple, along with
other students of Hözel, such as Oskar Schlemmer and Willi Baumeister. Inspired by the
work of her mentor, Hölzel, and the folk art quality of Der Blaue Reiter, Lily
transformed the style of her painting and began to produce enigmatic images of everyday
Hans and Lily's only child, Rainer, was born in 1914. Lily designed for Rainer a
Klein Rainer Weltreise with colored paper cut outs.
Considered one of the first modern children's books, it was published in 1918 and
translated into Russian in 1924.
Lily Hildebrandt met the architect Walter Gropius at the convention of the Deutscher
Werkbund in Stuttgart in 1919. She began a relationship with him that lasted until he
met his future wife, Ise Frank, in 1922, after which they remained friends.
Lily Hildebrandt created her first glass paintings in 1918, which then dominated her
artistic production and she participated in numerous exhibitions in Stuttgart. In 1927,
her work was exhibited at the Galerie Fritz Gurlitt in Berlin. During these years, she
actively promoted the Bauhaus, enlisting members for its Circle of Friends, and
encouraging publications about the new school. She participated in Hans's research
projects, gathering documentation from artists, and traveling on her husband's behalf.
Hans and Lily's house in Stuttgart remained an important gathering place for artists
throughout the years. They formed an art collection that comprised works by Josef
Albers, Alexander Archipenko, Willi Baumeister, Hans Brühlmann, Lyonel Feiniger, Hannah
Höch, Adolf Hölzel, Johannes Itten, Ida Kerkovius, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, and Kurt
The rise of the Nazi Party in 1933 had an enormous impact on the Hildebrandt's careers.
The last press article relating to Lily's work appeared in 1933, after which she was
ignored by the press because of her Jewish origin. She was prohibited from working as a
journalist and her artwork was later denounced as degenerate. Hans's success was
abruptly halted: his publication contracts were canceled, his books were censored, and
ultimately he was dismissed from his teaching position under the occupational
Berufungsverhandlung) of 1937-issued against
him because Lily was of Jewish descent and for his promotion of modern art and
architecture. Their financial difficulties became more pressing after the death of
Lily's parents in 1938, and the application of the
Judenvermögensabgabe, which allowed confiscation of the property of Jewish
citizens. The Hildebrandts survived from 1939 to 1940 on the royalties from Hans's
publications and his lectures at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich
(Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). During the war, Lily secretly photographed
friends and acquaintances to make an income. In 1943, Rainer Hildebrandt was arrested as
a conscientious objector and imprisoned under the charge of military subversion. Rainer
and Lily barely escaped being sent to a concentration camp.
Immediately following the war, Hans resumed his teaching position and retired in 1949
with a reduced pension, requiring him to continue writing and publishing until his death
in 1957. The most significant publication of this later period was his revised monograph
on the artist Oskar Schlemmer in 1952. Lily Hildebrandt remained a prominent figure in
Stuttgart's cultural life and exhibited her work in the 1961 exhibition
und sein Kreis.
After her death in 1974, retrospective exhibitions of her
work were held in 1988 at the Galerie Schlichtenmaier in Grafenau and in 1997 at Das
verborgene Museum in Berlin.
"Hans Hildebrandt" in Wendland, Ulrike.
Biographisches Handbuch deutschsprachiger
Kunsthistoriker im Exil: Leben und Werk der unter dem Nationalsozialismus verfolgten
und vertriebenen Wissenschaftler.
Munich: Saur, 1999, vol. 1, pp.
Sorensen, Lee, ed. "Hildebrandt, Hans." In
Dictionary of Art Historians.
Viewed February 19, 2023, Web site: https://arthistorians.info/hildebrandth
Heussler, Carla. "Hildebrandt, Lily".
Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon -
Internationale Künstlerdatenbank - Online
, edited by Andreas Beyer, Bénédicte
Savoy and Wolf Tegethoff. Berlin, New York: K. G. Saur, 2021. Retrieved 2023, February
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Hans and Lily Hildebrandt papers, 1899-1979, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles,
Accession no. 850676.
The Hildebrandt papers were acquired from the Hildebrandt estate in 1985. As part of the
acquisition process, the archive was initially arranged and described by the archivist
at the Bauhaus Archiv before it was shipped to the Getty Center.
Photographs of architecture previously separated to Accession no. 850676B have been
reintegrated, and now form part of Series V. Two separate acquisitions were also moved
into this collection: Accession no. 860334 (biography of Hans Hildebrandt, which was
donated by Magdalena Droste) and 860947 (additional materials acquired from Rainer
Jocelyn Gibbs and Scott Wolf reprocessed and described this archive in 1997. Scott Wolf
wrote the finding aid. Magdalena Droste's catalog and biographical essays assisted in
this effort. The Biographical/Historical Note and Series VI were revised in February
Upon receiving this collection in 1985, the repository removed approximately 200
black-and-white photographs of modern art and integrated them into the twentieth-century
European painting and sculpture section in the
See 76.P.54, 76.P.61, 76.P.67. These photographs comprise a
small archive of twentieth-century century German and French art with a particular
emphasis on German Expressionism, Constructivism, and abstract art. For an alphabetical
list of artists, see Box 59, Folder 1.
Scope and Content of Collection
The papers of Hans and Lily Hildebrandt provide a comprehensive record of their life and
work, reflecting their interests in modern art, architecture, and the decorative arts,
as well as their close friendships with leading painters and architects. The papers
consist of personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts, research notes,
bibliographies, publications, and photographs.
Included are research files related to Hans Hildebrandt's publications, lectures, and
unpublished works, such as
Der Schmuck. There are photographic portraits
of the Hildebrandts and of artists who were friends, photographs relating to their art
collection, as well as photographs that illustrated Hans Hildebrandt's writing projects.
Lily Hildebrandt's papers document her work as an artist and journalist through
exhibition reviews and newspaper clippings. The correspondence with Walter Gropius
documents the role she played in the promotion of the Bauhaus at Weimar.
Represented in the papers are: Bruno Adler, Joseph Albers, Alexander Archipenko, Willi
Baumeister, Max Bill, Julius and Lisbeth Bissier, Hans Brühlmann, Marc and Ida Chagall,
Franz Delitzsch, Richard Döcker, Katherine Dreier, Hermann Finsterlin, Giedion-Welcker,
Walter Gropius, Hugo Häring, Hannah Höch, Adolf Hölzel, Bernhard Hoetger, Johannes
Itten, Paul Klee, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Le Corbusier,
Maria Marc, László Moholy-Nagy, Amédée Ozenfant, Heinz Rasch, Alfred Roth, Oskar
Schlemmer, Kurt Schwitters, Hugo Stenner, Henry van de Velde, Friedrich
Vordemberge-Gildewart, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Theodor Werner, Hugo Wolf, and Walter
The papers are organized in six series:
Series I: Hans Hildebrandt's personal
papers, 1899-1978 (boxes 1-3);
Series II: Hans Hildebrandt's
bibliographies and reviews, 1908-1957 (boxes 3-5);
Hans Hildebrandt's manuscripts and publications, 1907-1961 (boxes 6-35, 64);
Series IV: Hans and Lily Hildebrandt's correspondence, 1901-1974 (boxes 36-42);
Series V: Hans and Lily Hildebrandt's photographs, ca. 1905-1960 (boxes 43-59);
Series VI: Lily Hildebrandt's papers, 1907-1979 (boxes 60-63).
Subjects - Names
Schlemmer, Oskar, 1888-1943
Altdorfer, Albrecht, approximately
Subjects - Topics
Jewelry -- History
Avant-garde (Aesthetics) -- Germany
Art -- Germany -- Stuttgart
Hildebrandt, Lily, 1887-1974