Harald Szeemann’s archive was in Maggia, in a building called “Fabbrica”. After Szeemann’s death, most of the collection was acquired and catalogued by the P. Getty Research Center in Los Angeles.
Among the many documents and objects related to the exhibitions and the curator’s research, about 5% relate to the history of Monte Verità. This part of the collection, called the “Szeemann Fund”, was acquired by the Monte Verità Foundation in 2007 and includes documents, objects, publications, pictures, articles and other materials related to the history of the hill, already exhibited or deposited in the Museum Casa Anatta, in the library of the Bauhaus Hotel, in the Elisarion Pavilion at Monte Verità and in the archive of Maggia. Exceptions are works of art and documents relating to Armand Schulthess, which remain privately owned, and paintings by Elisàr von Kupffer, which still belong to the Elisarion Cultural Centre and Museum of Minusio.
The fund consists of four sections. The first coincides with the collection of museum objects exhibited in the Museum Casa Anatta.
The remaining three sections include the cards collected from the Fabbrica in Maggia. These documents have reached the State Archives in excellent conditions, considering the methodical and rigorous archiving system adopted by Harald Szeemann. The documents were mostly placed in cardboard boxes “Villa Jelmini”, the curator’s favourite red wine, or in plastic storage boxes.
The evaluation of the maps identified three main sections: Documents, Iconography, Library. Altogether, the three sections go back to the years 1974-2005 and include the documents produced and received by Harald Szeemann in the context of the conception and realization of the Asconese exhibition of 1978 and its subsequent exhibitions (Zürich, Berlin, Vienne, Munich and again Ascona).
It also contains documentation produced and received by Szeemann as a member of the Cultural Commission of Monte Verità SA (1984-1990), and illustrates the cultural policy choices adopted by the Monte Verità Foundation in the years 1990-2005. The three sections contain mainly documents in German, French, Italian and English; German is however predominant.
The Monte Verità Foundation is responsible for the Szeemann collection, including the objects and documents of Harald Szeemann’s installation “Monte Verità. Le mammelle della verità”. The documents of the Fonds are deposited and kept at the State Archives of the Canton of Ticino.
To learn more you can purchase the following publication:
"Dalla visione al chiodo. Dal chiodo alla visione. Il Fondo Harald Szeemann dell'Archivio Fondazione Monte Verità", a cura di Claudia Lafranchi Cattaneo e Andreas Schwab ("Bollettino storico della svizzera italiana" No. 12, Salvioni Edizioni: 2013).
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The Getty Research Institute of Los Angeles has acquired a large portion of the Harald Szeemann archive, previously housed in a former factory in the Swiss village of Maggia. The archive is now completely cataloged and open to researchers.