In 2019, the Städel Museum received the generous private donation of the extensive legacy left behind by the artist Ottilie W. Roederstein. These exceptional archival holdings are now being cared for and processed at the museum.
In the exhibition “SELF. DETERMINED. The Painter Ottilie W. Roederstein” (20 July 2022 – 16 October 2022), selected documents and photographs from the Städel Museum’s Roederstein-Jughenn Archive offered initial insights into these important holdings.
It was by way of Roederstein’s partner Elisabeth H. Winterhalter (1856–1952) that the material entered the possession of Hermann Jughenn (1888–1967) of Hofheim, a longstanding friend of the two women. Starting in 1937, Jughenn worked on the legacy for more than twenty years, supplementing it with correspondence, photos of the works, memos and other material he collected in preparation for drawing up a biography of the artist and a catalogue of her oeuvre. After his death in 1967, his Roederstein archive remained in the possession of his familiy at his house in Hofheim. His catalogue raisonné was never published.
The holdings also comprise nearly 1,600 historical photographs of a wide range of different provenances as well as entire photo albums from the Roederstein-Winterhalter estate that were integrated into the material held by Jughenn and provide valuable visual testimonies to the period spanning the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
As part of the scholarly processing of the Roederstein-Jughenn Archive, the artist’s correspondence, reviews of her exhibitions and a large proportion of the photographs from her estate are currently undergoing digitalization. The multifaceted historical material provides insights into the private circumstances of an artist who, despite many personal challenges and historical upheavals, succeeded in earning a living with commissioned works over a period of more than sixty years. They also document the marriage-like relationship cultivated for many decades by two financially independent women who enjoyed the high regard of society. Above all, however, they reflect the wide-ranging contacts of an artist who—active in Switzerland, France, and Germany—managed to maximize her commercial success by means of a cleverly developed social network.
The correspondence includes letters between Roederstein and Winterhalter, her family and close confidantes such as Anna and Tilly Edinger and Pauline Haeberlin, artists such as Cuno Amiet, Carolus-Duran, Jean-Jacques Henner, Dora Hitz, Alexej von Jawlensky, Ludwig Meidner, Sigismund Righini, Annie Stebler-Hopf, the amateur photographer Jeanne Smith and writers such as Wilhelm Schaefer and Julia Virginia Laengsdorff. The archive moreover comprises the manuscripts of Roederstein’s biographer Hermann Jughenn as well as his correspondence with owners of her works. This material documents Jughenn’s preliminary work on the catalogue raisonné that was to document (and to a large extent illustrate) 1,800 works by the artist, including some 980 paintings. Approximately 700 exhibition reviews published from 1883 onwards supplement the material intended for the catalogue.
Kept in the library of the Städel Museum, the Roederstein-Jughenn Archive is a part of the Städel Archive and is available to scholars with a legitimate research interest.
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