Catalogs of art collections of former City Library in Wroclaw
Catalog of art collections in rooms of City Library in Wroclaw and City Archive (original title: „Bilder und Kunstgegenstände die in den Räumen der Stadtbibliothek u. des Stadtarchivs aufgehängt oder sonstwie untergebracht sind”).
Catalog consists of 259 cards in alphabetical and topographical order, including pictures in various techniques, graphics, drawings, photographs, memorial and commemorative plaque, sculptures, reliefs, busts made of plaster, porcelain, stone and wood as well as other artistic-historical items, that decorated interiors of building on Szajnochy 7/9 St. up to 1945. This catalog was created in years 1937-1942.
At present time this catalog is an invaluable historical and scientific source for recreating knowledge about artistic-historical collections, and even for their restitution. Only small part of this valuable collections remain in present Wroclaw University Library (oil portraits on canvas and tin, the foundation tablet, embroidery, miscellaneous), part of collection (oil portraits) was handled over to the National Museum in Wroclaw in years 1961 and 1972.
Alphabetical catalog of portraits in collective volumes (original title: „Bildnisse in Sammelbänden”) consists of 1159 cards. It includes individual portraits created in early graphics techniques - woodcut, engraving, etching – in loosely compiled volumes and manuscripts. This collection originates from unit 2 W18 consisting of loose prints from last quarter of the 16th century – circa 150 woodcuts with portraits of theologians, clergy, reformers and counter-reformers as well as of university teachers, that were published, with some exceptions, in Wittenberg. Larger collection was so called Hund’s collection, originally known as “Chalcographia” – it consists mostly of copperplates from Robert Boissard’s workshop in Frankfurt am Main, modeled after woodcuts for „Viri illustres” by Tobias Stimmer. Nowadays catalog serves as informative source.
Alphabetical catalog of portraits consists of 8372 cards for, mainly, loose graphical images from 16th – 20th century („Portätsammlung”). Preserved handwritten book register is currently placed in WUL’s Manuscript Department. This catalog exclude separated collection of portraits gathered by doctor Johann Friedrich Schäffer from the half of the 19th century, that is cornerstone of the WUL’s graphical collections. This collection of portraits was registered in 1933 in „Pinacotheca medicorum et physicorum” – portraits of doctors from all times.
This catalog was created by volunteer and co-worker of City Library – jeweler Paul Sommé, that has worked on it individually till 1943. According to A. Rüffler, in 1929 on order of Joseph Becker, director of Stadtbibliothek, catalog, that at present time consisted of 8 thousand cards, was shipped out to Dresden, where Hans Singer included it in printed register of portraits in German collections. From the first 610 descriptions, including reference cards and cards for Schottländer’s collection, that couldn’t be placed in volumes one and two, up to description of Hans Kurt Bodenhaus’ portrait, only some of them can be found in supplement („Nachtrag”) in volume 13 from the year 1934. There is a total number o 530 descriptions, excluding reference cards and cards for Schottländer’s collection. In volumes from 2 to 13, Singer was writing about Wroclaw’s catalog: „Der handschriftliche Zettelkatalog der Bildnissammlung in der Breslauer Stadtbibliothek. Schätzungsweise 1500 Bildnisse: etwa die Hälfte werden Schlesier sein”. Probably he referred to number of portrayed persons (Personen) and not to number of portraits itself (Bildnisse), because he stated number of notes (cards – images) as 5809 items.
Among described portraits, 132 that originally belonged to St. Bernard Monastery, are currently part of Wroclaw University Library’s Graphic Collection Department’s collection.
Singer H. W., Allgemeiner Bildniskatalog, Bd. 1-14, Leipzig 1930-1936
Rüffler A., Die Stadtbibliothek Breslau im Spiegel der Erinnerung. Geschichte – Bestände – Forschungstätte, Sigmaringen 1997, s. 87, 120, 121
Gola A., Ławicka M., Od klasztoru do muzeum. Dzieje zespołu zabudowań bernardyńskich we Wrocławiu, Wrocław 2009, s. 279-417: Katalog zbiorów artystycznych Biblioteki Bernardyńskiej