Gerson Digital : Germany I


Foreword - Chris Stolwijk

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Horst Gerson’s groundbreaking Ausbreitung und Nachwirkung der holländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. This milestone offers an excellent opportunity to present Gerson Digital : Germany, a translated, illustrated and annotated chapter of Gerson's survey on cultural exchange between the Netherlands and Germany. Horst Gerson (1907-1978), born in Berlin, worked on this publication in the Netherlands from 1934 on, after studying 17th-century Dutch painting in Vienna, Berlin and Göttingen. Since that time Gerson was employed at the RKD in The Hague and in 1940, just before the outbreak of the Second World War in the Netherlands, he became a Dutch citizen. Given his background and experience, it is not surprising that the relationship between Dutch and German art raised his interest from the early days of his career on.

This is the third publication in the Gerson Digital series. The first, concerning Poland, was published in 2013 and was supplemented by two additional articles in August 2014. The second publication concerning Denmark was released in 2015. The data in RKD Explore form the foundation for this unique, annotated and illustrated Gerson online. The materials, including illustrations of works of art, are directly retrieved from the RKD databases and are shown in the digital publication, which also contains hyperlinks to records concerning artists and collectors in the database RKDartists. In addition, the data in RKD databases function as an extension of the documentary apparatus of the present publication. As a result of the German project, about 1,700 artists or collectors and fully 7,000 artworks are entered or expanded in the databases of the RKD.

We are also very proud to launch a new, geotagging tool in RKD Explore, which visualizes the results of geographical searches. Not only the mobility of artists is now visible in maps, but also the mobility of artworks, on the basis of provenance data. The launch of Gerson Digital : Germany is a perfect occasion to make this tool available in the databases of the RKD.

The publication concerning Germany came about in close collaboration with a lot of colleagues world wide. The RKD is most grateful to Leiden University, the University of Amsterdam, the Rubenianum in Antwerp and a choice of museums in Germany, Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum Aachen, Kunsthalle Bremen, Ostfriesisches Landesmuseum Emden, Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Historisches Museum Frankfurt, Kunstsammlung Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister - Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Oldenburg, Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. The colleagues of these partner institutions not only put time, efforts and expertise at our disposal but also provided large quantities of visual material, literature and additional information.

Our special thanks go out to Thomas Fusenig and Juliette Roding, who both acted as guest editors of this publication. The RKD especially wants to thank the members of the peer review committee, Ellinoor Bergvelt, Nils Büttner, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Gero Seelig and Nicolette Sluijter-Seijffert for their valuable comments. Furthermore, we are greatly beholden to Brian Capstick, London, and Cuth Earl, Sunderland, for editing the English translation of the text.

This publication would not have been possible without the dedication of the research assistants of Ursula de Goede, Jan Kosten, Paul van Kooij and Mira de Roo. The support from BA and MA students of Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam, Elsa Dikkes, Miara Fraikin, Mike Hermsen, Lieke Janssen, Stefanie Leitner, Liliane Mostert and Tess Zitman, was also of great value to the research.

Last but not least, we are also grateful to Brian Capstick, London, who took care of the travel expenses incurred in connection with this project.

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