Winterthur Acquires Fraktur Collection

Posted in museums by Editor on January 20, 2014

Recently noted at ArtDaily:


Andreas Kolb, Fraktur, ca. 1785 (Winterthur Museum)
Photo by Jim Schneck

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Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library announces a landmark acquisition from the estate of Pastor Frederick S. Weiser (1935‒2009) containing a large religious text signed by Andreas Kolb that is widely regarded by scholars and collectors as one of the greatest Pennsylvania German fraktur ever made. Fraktur is a Germanic style of decorative work on paper. As one of the largest acquisitions in the museum’s history, it includes 121 fraktur plus nearly 200 textiles and other items in addition to Pastor Weiser’s extensive research papers.

“Winterthur is honored to have acquired this exceedingly important collection. We thus preserve the legacy of an extraordinary scholar and establish Winterthur’s already excellent collection of Pennsylvania German decorative arts as among the top few institutional holdings,” said Winterthur Director Dr. David P. Roselle.

A prolific writer and longtime editor of the Pennsylvania German Society, Pastor Weiser is considered one of the foremost scholars and collectors of Pennsylvania German decorative arts. He published numerous books and articles on Pennsylvania German arts and culture in addition to directing several major research projects that resulted in publications and exhibitions. “Pastor Weiser’s exceptional collection will be preserved largely in its entirety at Winterthur, where it can be studied alongside his extensive research files, which were donated by his estate to the Winterthur Library,” said J. Thomas Savage, director of museum affairs at Winterthur.

Assembled by Pastor Weiser over a span of more than forty years and with a careful eye to collecting the most significant or rare examples, the collection includes many objects acquired directly from descendants of the original owner or maker. Many objects were featured in Pastor Weiser’s publications, exhibitions, and lectures and represent a core group of well-documented pieces on which scholars rely. Linda Eaton, Winterthur’s John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw director of collections and senior curator of textiles, added, “We are thrilled to bring the Weiser collection to Winterthur, where the historical and artistic significance of this exceptional collection will be preserved and made accessible to a broad audience.”

Additional highlights from the Weiser fraktur collection include a large alphabet made in 1795 by Jacob Otto, a joiner and fraktur artist who worked in Lancaster County; a spiritual clockworks attributed to itinerant artist Friedrich Krebs; several dozen small drawings that were given to students by their schoolmasters as rewards for good behavior or academic performance; certificates for birth, baptism, and confirmation; bookplates, writing samples (Vorschriften), and cutworks (Scherenschnitte); religious texts, tunebooks, and hymnals; and New Year’s greetings, valentines, and assorted drawings of buildings, people, flowers, and animals. (more…)

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