(New York, April 30, 2019)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art today launched the Digital Archives Initiative (DAI), a new project developed through partnerships with institutions and artists' estates worldwide. Through the initiative, rare documents and materials related to modern art that are largely unknown or inaccessible are made available online. The first DAI collection, made possible through a partnership with the Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, features Vincenc Kramář's unpublished notes on one of Pablo Picasso's first solo exhibitions outside France—at Heinrich Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie in Munich in 1913.
The DAI is an initiative of the Research Center, created in collaboration with The Met’s Digital Department, which seeks to advance scholarship through digital access to research and primary source materials. The website’s virtual environment was modeled on the experience of visiting and using an actual archive. The result is an innovative digital platform that prioritizes material intimacy and flexibility, allowing scholars and the general public to tailor their experience to individual research needs and interests.
“The Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art was founded on a commitment to intellectual collaboration and advancing scholarship, and one of the most impactful ways to do that is by broadening access to important materials on modern art," said Stephanie D’Alessandro, Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and Curator in Charge of the Research Center. "The Digital Archives Initiative not only brings archival holdings to a global audience but it also fosters partnerships with institutions around the world, thereby expanding the field and focus of art history.”
Kramář was a leading collector of the work of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso and was one of the earliest art historians to intensively study Cubism. He played a central role in promoting Cubism in Prague and shaped its reception among Czech artists and audiences. As part of his work, he visited Picasso’s retrospective at Heinrich Thannhauser’s Moderne Galerie in Munich in 1913 and made comprehensive records of his experience. Although Picasso’s 1913 exhibition has been known to scholars, previously it was difficult to identify what was included in the show, since the accompanying catalogue has few illustrations and lacks the specific information that would ordinarily help identify individual works. Kramář’s notes detail many of the works in the exhibition, thus providing the key to a long-held mystery. Moreover, until the digitization of this document, Kramář’s notes were only accessible to scholars who visited the Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. The first DAI collection, Vincenc Kramář, Notes on Picasso’s exhibition at the Thannhauser Gallery, 1913, includes an interactive reproduction of Kramář’s handwritten notes as well as a Czech transcription and English translation. Additional resources include Kramář’s annotated copy of the exhibition catalogue and footnoted identifications of some of the artworks on the checklist.
DAI Collection: Vincenc Kramář, Notes on Picasso’s exhibition at the Thannhauser Gallery, 1913
Ústav dějin umění Akademie věd České republiky (Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences), Prague: Vlado Bohdan, Photographer, Photo Studio; Vojtěch Lahoda, former Director; Pavla Machalíková, Chair, Department of 19th to 21st Century Art; Jana Marešová, Researcher, Department of Documentation; Tomáš Winter, Director
Project Consultants: Marcela Brunclíková; Nancy Cohen, Copy Editor; Nicholas Sawicki, Associate Professor of Art History, Lehigh University and Distinguished Scholar, Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art, 2019; Velir, Technology; Alex Zucker, Translator
The Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art / The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Digital Department; Stephanie D’Alessandro, Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and Curator in Charge of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art; Isabelle Duvernois, Conservator, Paintings Conservation; Lindsay Ganter, Assistant Administrator, Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art; Anna Jozefacka, Leonard A. Lauder Fellow in Modern Art, 2015–17; Luise Mahler, Leonard A. Lauder Fellow in Modern Art, 2017–19; Rebecca Rabinow, former Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and Curator in Charge of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art; Lauren Rosati, Assistant Curator, Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art.
April 30, 2019