This richly illustrated book examines the making of one of the earliest modern catalogues—La galerie électorale de Dusseldorff. Published in 1778, the revolutionary two-volume publication showcases one of the most important European painting collections of the eighteenth century, reflecting a pivotal moment in the history of art as well as the history of the art museum. In two essays, the authors analyze the process by which the catalogue was produced and shed light on the historical and cultural context that gave rise to an innovative and didactic way of displaying paintings and, by extension, to art history as a discipline.The volume accompanied an exhibition of the same name held at the Getty Research Institute from May 31 to August 21, 2011.
Thomas W. Gaehtgens is director of the Getty Research Institute and former director of the German Center for the History of Art in Paris, an organization he founded in 1997. Louis Marchesano is curator of prints and drawings at the Getty Research Institute.