Fondo Harald Szeemann

The Harald Szeemann collection represents approximately 5% of the entire Harald Szeemann archive, of which it was an integral part up until 31 January 2007, when the Monte Verità Foundation acquired the material regarding Monte Verità.

In particular, the collection contains documents, objects, publications, photographs, articles and other materials concerning the history of Monte Verità-previously exhibited or stored in the Casa Anatta Museum, in the Bauhaus hotel library, in the Elisarion pavilion on Monte Verità, and in the archive at Maggia - with the exception of artwork and documents relating to Armand Schulthess, which have remained of private property, and paintings by Elisàr von Kupffer, currently owned by the Elisarion Museum and Cultural Centre of Minusio.

The aim of the Monte Verità Foundation was to work together with the State archive of the Canton of Ticino, under the aegis of the directorate of the Department of Education, Culture and Sport of the Canton of Ticino, "to collect, file and showcase the materials [...] relating to the history of Monte Verità and to the various related artistic, literary, philosophical and spiritual movements". This objective was part of a broader project aimed at restoring the complex of historical buildings on Monte Verità, in particular the Casa Anatta Museum.

The collection consists of four sections: the first comprises the collection of museum items exhibited at the Casa Anatta Museum up until summer 2009 and destined to return to the museum; the three other sections contain the documentation relating to Monte Verità that had previously been collected from the former factory at Maggia: these documents had reached the State Archive in perfect condition, considering the strict, methodical filing system used by Harald Szeemann. His archive was mostly stored in empty "Villa Jelmini" cardboard wine boxes - Villa Jelmini being the curator's favourite Merlot wine - or in plastic filing boxes.

All the material has been studied, and three main sections have been identified: the documents section, the iconography section, and the library and periodicals section. By and large, the three sections date back to 1974-2005 and include documents written and received by Harald Szeemann during the development and production of the 1978 exhibition held in Ascona and subsequently in other locations (Zurich, Berlin, Vienna, Munich and back in Ascona again). These sections also include the documents written and received by Szeemann in his capacity as member of the cultural commission of Monte Verità Ltd. (1984-1990) and illustrate the choices made by the Monte Verità Foundation between 1990 and 2005 in accordance with the Foundation's cultural policy.

"Dalla visione al chiodo. Dal chiodo alla visione. Il Fondo Harald Szeemann dell'Archivio Fondazione Monte Verità"
by Claudia Lafranchi Cattaneo and Andreas Schwab. "Bollettino storico della svizzera italiana", No. 12, Salvioni Edizioni: 2013.

Dedicated to the Harald Szeemann collection, this publication focuses on the part of the Harald Szeemann archive concerning Monte Verità, in particular the historic exhibition entitled "Monte Verità. Le mammelle della verità" set up for the first time in 1978. This section of the immense Harald Szeemann archive - acquired by the Monte Verità Foundation in 2007 and subsequently filed - has been available to researchers since 2011 and is today the subject of this publication.

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Archivio di Stato del Canton Ticino

Viale Stefano Franscini 30a
6500 Bellinzona
tel. +41 91 814 13 20
fax +41 91 814 13 29
[email protected]

Opening hours:

Monday: 09.15 - 17.00
Tuesday-Friday: 08.30 - 17.00

Consultation of the Szeemann archive is subject to the State archive rules.

P. Getty Research center

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.

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