German photo library

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German photo library
Deutsche Fotothek Logo 2012.svg

founding 1924
Duration 1,804,000 images
Library type Image and photo archive
place Dresden
ISIL DE-2396 (German Photo Library)
management Jens Bove

The Deutsche Fotothek with its more than three million image documents is a universal archive of art and cultural history in the Saxon State Library - Dresden State and University Library (SLUB). Her focus is on the history of art, architecture and music, regional studies of Saxony , geography and the history of technology and business .

With the archive of photographers , the Deutsche Fotothek offers a virtual showcase for the works of important German photographers or those working in Germany. In addition to own recordings, a large part of the holdings comes from the collections of institutions, companies and, above all, from estates , for example from Hermann Krone , Christian Borchert , Fritz Eschen , Walter Hahn , Konrad Helbig , Erich Höhne , Erich Pohl , Richard Peter , Abraham Pisarek , Roger Rössing and Charles Paul Wilp .


Photo of the Elbe in Dresden by August Kotzsch from 1880 - the oldest photos in the collection date from the middle of the 19th century

The Deutsche Fotothek has its origins in the "Sächsische Landesbildstelle", which was founded in 1924. In 1925 a photo archive, the Photographic State Archive, was founded. In 1944 the archive held 47,000 negatives and 65,000 slides. The Landesbildstelle was located at Zirkusstrasse 40. During the air raids on Dresden in February 1945, it was destroyed except for the relocated holdings.

In the summer of 1946, the Landesbildstelle on Ehrlichstrasse 1 was reopened, from 1951 it was housed in the rebuilt Saxon State House . In the same year the Landesbildarchiv was assigned to the State Office for Folklore and Monument Preservation as the "Landesfotothek". In 1952 the photo library was subordinated to the State Commission for Art Affairs as the "Staatliche Fotothek Dresden" . In 1956, the Ministry of Culture gave the photo library its own statute as the “Deutsche Fotothek Dresden - Central Institute for cultural-scientific image documents”. In 1961 it was incorporated into the German State Library in Berlin . Since 1983 it has belonged as a department to what was then the Saxon State Library (SLB), today the Saxon State Library - State and University Library. Since 1964, the Deutsche Fotothek has managed the entire art archive of the Academy of the Arts of the GDR .


The Deutsche Fotothek has 3.2 million photo documents. Collections in the Deutsche Fotothek:

  • Overarching topics / photography
    • Archives of the photographers
    • Worldviews
    • Worker photography
    • traffic
    • Aerial photos
    • Fashion photos of the 20s and 30s
  • Collections and Archives
    • Historical picture postcards - Collection Prof. Dr. Sabine Giesbrecht
    • Janke archive
    • Talleyrand collection
    • Mill archive Rapp
  • Graphics / illustration / magazines
    • Virtual map forum
    • Technical history illustrations from prints from the 16th and 17th centuries
    • Virtual cabinet of engravings
    • Architectural drawings
    • Furniture design
    • GDR art
    • Artist magazines
  • Persons / bequests
    • Richard Strauss
    • Richard Wagner
    • MD Pöppelmann


In addition to the usual on-site use of the photographs, a large part of the photographs, as of January 2017 around 1,800,000 images from 86 institutions, can be researched online; expanding online access to the entire inventory is a permanent task of the institution.


Since March 2009 Wikimedia has been able to use 250,000 photos from the collection of the Deutsche Fotothek; the contract for this was signed between Wikimedia Germany and the Saxon State Library - State and University Library.


Web links

Commons : Deutsche Fotothek  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Collections and projects of the Deutsche Fotothek of SLUB Dresden (as of January 2017)
  2. Jürgen Kuri: Wikipedia receives 250,000 images from the German Photo Library. on, March 24, 2009
  3. Press release on the cooperation with Wikimedia Germany on commons