The Research Project

The Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne has, since its merger with the Fondation Corboud in 2002, possessed one of the largest and most varied collections of Impressionist and Post-impressionist paintings in Germany. The focus of the two collections, which complement each other brilliantly, is formed by French painting of the second half of the 19th century. Leading Impressionists such as CLAUDE MONET, GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE, CAMILLE PISSARRO, PIERRE AUGUSTE RENOIR, BERTHE MORISOT and ALFRED SISLEY are represented with important paintings or even whole groups of works. The collection includes not only works by the pioneers, but also examples of different branches and trends of the era. To name but a few, we could mention GUSTAVE COURBET, PAUL CÉZANNE, PAUL GAUGUIN and VINCENT VAN GOGH in this context. The collection has a particular focus in Post-impressionism. Trends such as Pointillism are impressively represented with paintings by SIGNAC, CROSS, LUCE and DUBOIS-PILLET.

This extraordinarily broad spectrum provided the ideal conditions for a systematic technological investigation of the paintings of this period. The planning and first examinations began in 2002. Thanks to the generous financial support of the RheinEnergieStiftung Jugend/Beruf, Wissenschaft, a start could be made at the beginning of 2005 on the four-year project "Research into the Painting Techniques of Impressionism and Postimpressionism" in co-operation with the Cologne Institute for Conservation Science (CICS) at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne (»team, »partners). Conservators, scientists and art-historians of both institutions are collaborating in this project. The focus has been on the investigation of painting materials and techniques and the recording of states of preservation as well as the restoration history of the paintings (»methods and goals).

Against this background, 75 representative paintings in the collection in Cologne were selected for the investigation (»short reports, »conventions). A filter function in the catalogue allows particular details of the individual paintings to be accessed. Each painting is presented to you in a Brief Report with a list of technological and scientific data together with informative illustrations.

The aim of this online publication in German and English is to make the insights we have obtained available to as broad a segment of connoisseurs and fans of the Impressionists and Post-impressionists as possible.