Art and Museum Library

The Kunst- und Mu­se­ums­bi­blio­thek (Art and Mu­se­um Li­brary) is one of the largest public li­braries for mod­ern art and pho­tog­ra­phy world­wide. As a public ref­er­ence li­brary it pro­vides its users ac­cess to lit­er­a­ture, in­for­ma­tio­n­al ma­te­rial, and pho­to­graphs of art from the mid­dle ages to the pre­sent. Its ar­eas of em­pha­sis in­clude:

  • Art of the twen­ti­eth and twen­ty-first cen­turies
  • Im­age pro­duc­tion in the me­dia of pho­tog­ra­phy and film
  • Art of the BeNeLux coun­tries (Bel­gi­um, the Nether­lands, Lux­em­burg)

In ad­di­tion to 393,000 publi­ca­tions (mono­graphs, CDs, ca­t­a­logues, and over 6,500 pe­ri­od­i­cals, in­clud­ing ca. 800 cur­rent sub­scrip­tions), the li­brary has an ex­ten­sive archive of mi­nor publi­ca­tions (news­pa­per clip­pings, in­vi­ta­tion cards, and brochures from the 1950s to the 1980s on art). While all the publi­ca­tions in the on­line ca­t­a­logue of the li­brary have been con­firmed, the auc­tion ca­t­a­logues and mi­nor writ­ings must be re­quest­ed on site, in the read­ing rooms.

In Ju­ly 2013, in recog­ni­tion of the li­brary’s im­mense sig­ni­f­i­cance and due to a large civic and in­ter­na­tio­n­al protest, Ci­ty of Cologne politi­cians and ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cials publi­c­ly pledged to re­tain the li­brary in its en­tire­ty and to un­der­take an in­ten­sive search for a build­ing in which its hold­ings can be con­soli­dat­ed. This agree­ment came pre­cise­ly af­ter the ma­jor­i­ty of the Ci­ty Coun­cil had vot­ed, in Ju­ly 2013, against the orig­i­nal­ly planned move in­to the new build­ing of the ci­ty’s his­tor­i­cal archive on the Eifel­wall, cit­ing rea­sons of cost cutt­ing.

Sup­ple­ment­ing the pub­lished hold­ings of the KMB, the Rheinisch­es Bil­darchiv (Rhen­ish Pic­ture Archive) holds over 5 mil­lion pho­to­graphs on art.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on im­age re­search, hold­ings, and the dig­i­tal im­age database can be found at www.rheinisch­es-bil­darchiv.de.

Read­ing Room in the Mu­se­um Lud­wig

Hold­ings on Art from the Mid­dle Ages to the Pre­sent

Hein­rich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Köln
Hours: Mon­day 2–9 p.m., Tues­day-Thurs­day 10 a.m.–9 p.m.,
Fri­day 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Con­sul­ta­tion about the col­lec­tions is avai­l­able un­til 5 p.m.