Subseries B. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting

1924-1954, n.d.

Scope and Content Note

"A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting" is a as of yet incomplete scholarly work on Florentine painting from the pre-Renaissance period that includes a vast amount of documentary, critical, illustrative and bibliographic material. Preparation and planning of the proposed 30-volume work was begun by German art historian Richard Offner as early as 1920. By 1930, the year of the first volume's appearance, Kimball had become very concerned with the work's success and for Offner's financial situtation. Offner was by then teaching at New York University, but the stock of his printed images and the collotype plates for the first fourteen volumes were in Berlin. In addition, Offner, who was solely responsible for the work's financial obligations, faced enormous hardship due to the economic down-turn in Germany following World War I.

Through his efforts, Kimball was able to raise funds in the United States to support the continuation of Offner's work, first through a grant by the American Council of Learned Societies, and later through subscription orders and independent donors. In addition, he negotiated with New York University to form a committee to oversee the distribution of funds raised to support the work. He sought the advice of lawyers, accountants, and financial institutions on Offner's behalf to stabilize the author's finances while satisfying his creditors. In addition, he worked extensively with Offner's Berlin office to secure the successful transfer of materials in December 1936 out of Germany to London, where printing of the work continued.

The records are comprised primarily of correspondence with Offner, his Berlin secretary Henrietta Hardenberg, and the New York University Committee on the Florentine Corpus. There is also correspondence with various printers, financial institutions, donors, and other supporters, as well as Kimball's administrative files related to the work's financing, production and distribution.

See Also:
Fiske Kimball Records / IV. Curatorial issues / A. Personnel / f. Offner, Richard, 1889-1965.