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Lippmann, Friedrich

    Full Name: Lippmann, Friedrich

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1838

    Date Died: 1903

    Place Born: Prague, Praha, Hlavní Město, Czech Republic

    Place Died: Berlin, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Czechoslovakia

    Subject Area(s): Renaissance

    Career(s): curators

    Institution(s): Kupferstichkabinett


    Curator of the Kupferstichkabinett (Graphics Collection), Berlin State Museums and expertising authority. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, which is present-day Prague, Czech Republic. Friedrich Lippmann was in Prague, the youngest son of a wealthy factory owner. He often travelled to Venice as a child with his father. After graduating from the Prague Gymnasium in 1856 he spent several months in Paris before attending university studying political science. in the 1860s he moved to Vienna to study both technology and the fine arts. There he met Rudolf von Eitelberger, the eminent founder of the Österreichisches Museum (Austrian Museum). He worked at the Museum until 1871 when he joined the Zentralkommission fur Erhaltung der Kunstdenkmaler (Central Commission for Art Monuments). That same year, 1871, Lippmann formed part team of art historians (the others including Moriz Thausing, Carl von Lützlow, Adolf Bayersdorfer, Alfred Woltmann, Wilhelm Lübke, Bruno Meyer, Karl Woermann, G. Malsz and Wilhelm Bode) who convened in Dresden to determine which of two versions of Hans Holbein the younger’s Meyer Madonna was the autograph work. The so-called “Holbein convention,” one of the important events in nineteenth-century art history when many methodical approaches were employed to determined authenticity. The Dresden and Darmstadt versions were brought side by side for comparison. The panel concluded that the Darmstadt version was the original. In 1882, while reviewing an upcomiing auction of the collection of the Scottish Duke of Hamilton in Britain, Lippmann realized that the eighty-five unknown renaissance drawings in one of the Sotheby lots was in fact the lost Botticelli illustrations of Dante’s Comedia. The Savvy Lippmann understood that the only way the Berlin museum could afford the collection was to offer a lump sum for the entire lot, a move which also called less attention to his identification of them as Botticelli works. Lippmann moved quickly to purchase and quietly move the collection to Berlin. The announcement by the Kupferstichkabinett resulted in an outcry in the British press and Parliament. Lippmann began compiling a catalog of drawings by Albrecht Dürer, Zeichnungen von Albrecht Dürer, published in 1883. The following year he began issuing facsimilies of the Botticelli drawing he bought as Zeichnungen von Sandro Botticelli zu Dante’s Goettlicher Komoedie (apprearing in an English version in 1896). Lippmann wrote a series of articles on wood engraving for the Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen which were turned into the book The Art of Wood-engraving in Italy in the Fifteenth Century in 1888. In 1891 Max J. Friedländer, then a young volunteer, worked under Lippmann in the graphics collection. His 1893 introduction to the history of copper engraving, Der Kupferstich, written in collaboration with Max Lehrs and Elfried Bock (1875-1933) went through many editions and was updated by Lehrs and translated into English by the keeper of the Victorian and Albert Museum, Martin Hardie in 1906. After his death in 1903, volumes 6 and 7 of his Dürer drawings catalog completed by Friedrich Winkler.


    Selected Bibliography

    Zeichnungen von Albrecht Dürer, Berlin, G. Grote, 1883-1929 [vols. 6-7 completed by Friedrich Winkler]; Zeichnungen von Sandro Botticelli zu Dante’s Goettlicher Komoedie nach den Originalen im K. Kupferstichkabinet zu Berlin. Berlin: G. Grote’sche Verlagsbuchandlung, [1884-]1887, English, Drawings by Sandro Botticelli for Dante’s Divina Commedia, Reduced Facsimiles after the Originals in the Royal museum, Berlin, and in the Vatican Library. London: Lawrence and Bullen, 1896; and Dohme, Robert. Druckschriften des XV bis XVIII Jahrhunderts in getreuen Nachbildungen. Berlin: Reichsdruckerei, 1884-1887, English, Engravings and Woodcuts by Old Masters (sec. XV-XIX). London: B. Quaritch, 1889-1900; [revised essays from Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen] The Art of Wood-engraving in Italy in the Fifteenth Century. 3 vols. London: B. Quaritch, 1888; Kupferstiche und Holzschnitte: alter Meister in Nachbildungen. 10 vols. Berlin: G. Grote, 1889-1899 ;and Bock, Elfried, and Lehrs, Max. Der Kupferstich. Berlin: W. Spemann, 1893. Lucas Cranach: Sammlung von Nachbildungen seiner vorzüglichsten Holzschnitte und seiner Stiche, hergestellt in der Reichsdruckerei. Berlin: G. Grote, 1895.


    Schöne, Richard. [Reflections on Friedrich Lippmann].  Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 25 no. 1 (1904): III-VIII;  Metzler Kunsthistoriker Lexikon: zweihundert Porträts deutschsprachiger Autoren aus vier Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1999, pp. 242-244; Kultermann, Udo. The History of Art History. New York: Abaris, 1993, p. 145;  Reynolds, Nigel . “Royal Academy wins battle over Botticellis.”  Daily Telegraph. September 7, 2000

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Lippmann, Friedrich." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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