Thieme (Ulrich), 1865-1922; Becker (Felix), 1864-1928
Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart
Leipzig, E.A. Seemann, 1907-1950
Thirty-seven volumes (27 cm), uniformly bound in half-morocco (a collector’s binding). - Original edition of this magisterial dictionary of artists, “a milestone for scholarly biographical art publishing” (Dictionary of Art Historians). It was started by Ulrich Thieme in 1898, with the intention of continuing a similar enterprise undertaken by Julius Meyer in 1872, which had ceased after three volumes. Becker withdrew from the project in 1910, owing to ill health; volumes 3-13, were edited by Thieme alone; volumes 14-15 by Thieme jointly with Frederick Charles Willis (b. 1883); and volumes 16-36 were edited by Hans Vollmer (1878-1969). Until 1921, when the Deutsche Verein für Kunstwissenschaft took over the project, it was financed entirely from Thieme and Becker’s private resources. Contact with more than 300 contributors was maintained despite the disruption of two World Wars; incredibly, three volumes were issued during the second War. A British air raid in 1944 destroyed the remaining stock of copies and ever since good sets of the original edition have been difficult to procure. ¶ Fine set.