The Archives of the Hamburger Kunsthalle

The Hamburger Kunsthalle has several archives and archival collections. The Historical Archive of the Hamburger Kunsthalle (HAHK) documents the Hamburger Kunsthalle’s history and the activities of the people working in and for the museum. The Art Archive of the Hamburger Kunsthalle (KAHK) assembles archival material and collections which are closely related to the museum.

Since January 2018 the archives have been merged, systematically sorted, indexed and made accessible. Such endeavours require strong partners.

To date, the archives have been supported by: Georg Wilhelm Claussen Eitner Haus, Blankenburg'sche Hamburg-Stiftung,  Freunde der Kunsthalle e.V., Kunst- und Literaturstiftung Petra und K.-H. Zillmer, Koordinierungsstelle für die Erhaltung des schriftlichen Kulturguts (KEK)



The Historical Archive comprises ca. 200 meters of documentary material (correspondence, plans, photographs, estates etc.). It documents the history of the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the activities of the people working in and for the museum. The correspondence and materials, preserved since the first third of the 19th century, bear witness to the beginnings of the initially founded Städtische Gemälde Galerie and the developments of Hamburger Kunsthalle, first opened in 1869, until the present day. 

Here you may access the holdings of the Historical Archive. 

Use of the Archives

The use of the archives takes place in accordance with the Hamburg Archives Law.

Holdings – Overview and Finding Aids

Historical Archive of the Hamburger Kunsthalle (HAHK)

  • Business Documents of the Hamburger Kunsthalle
    • Correspondence of the Directors / Matters Related to the Board
      Unfortunately, the correspondence of the first director Alfred Lichtwark is not available for use for reasons of preservation.
    • General Correspondence and Administration Records
      We are currently working on a finding aid for the accessible parts.
    • Supervisory bodies
    • Supporting associations and foundations
  • Image Archive
  • Poster Collection
    Finding aid for the posters of our past exhibitions (1964 to 2019)
  • Audiovisual Collection
  • Collection of Maps
  • Press Collection
    Finding aid for the press archive 
    Subject heading index for the press archive
  • Other Collections

Art Archive of the Hamburger Kunsthalle (KAHK)

  • Bequests
  • Publications
  • Reproductions Collection
    Finding aid for the reproductions collection


Documents from the Historical Archive are frequently requested, cited in scientific publications and featured in exhibitions.

Selection of literature:

• Anita Rée: Retrospektive / edited by Karin Schick on commission of the Hamburger Kunsthalle; Christoph M. Vogtherr

Kongress: Exhibition Anita Rée. Retrospektive; (Hamburg): 2017.10.06-2018.02.04. - Munich [2017]

• Beer Carl Heine - Mäzen der ersten Stunde: Stiften, schenken, spenden / by Ute Haug; with a contribution from Sylvia Steckmest; printed on commission of the Freunde der Kunsthalle; Hamburger Kunsthalle. - Hamburg [2016]

• Lichtwark revisited: Künstler sehen Hamburg: Karl Albrecht, Pierre Bonnard, Lovis Corinth… / Hubertus Gaßner, Ute Haug, Merle Radtke, Petra Roettig (eds.)
Congress: Exhibition Lichtwark revisited – Künstler sehen Hamburg; (Hamburg): 2014.05.23-09.14. – Hamburg [2015]

• Nolde in Hamburg / edited by Karin Schick, Christian Ring and Hubertus Gaßner – Munich, London, New York [2015]

• Oscar Troplowitz: ein Leben für Hamburg; [... released on occasion of the exhibition »A Life for Hamburg. Oscar Troplowitz«, Hamburger Kunsthalle, 18 January to 30
June 2013] / Hamburger Kunsthalle. [Eds. Leonie Beiersdorf; Christine Claussen] – Ostfildern 2013

• Max Liebermann: Briefe. Compiled, edited and commented by Ernst Braun – Baden-Baden 2011


Upon consultation with the staff, you may take photos for private purposes with a personal camera (without a flash). For conservational reasons, the Information & Documentation Department is authorized to ban certain media from being photographed.

Reproductions for publication or commercial purposes may be ordered via the picture agency: Bildagentur Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte (bpk) in Berlin. ( Here, the general terms and conditions of the picture agency will apply.

Opening Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11 am - 5 pm
Thursday: 11 am - 8 pm

The presentation of archive material is only possible after prior registration by e-mail.