Historical and modern postcards

The collection contains more than 2,500 Beethoven-themed pieces, starting from the 1890s, when the first picture postcards began to circulate, to the present day. With flair and imagination, they cover a wide range of genres: from portraits to landscapes, art to documentary, the gallant to the celebratory, the erotic to the political, the promotional to the humorous, all in different formats using different printing techniques. 

A large part of the collection includes exhibits from the “Golden Age of the Postcard”, featuring the famous “Gruß Aus” (Greetings from), produced from 1890 until the start of the Great War using chromolithography, a technique that involved overprinting colours up to 12 times!

The number of postcards (many of them postmarked) and the variety of techniques and genres gives us a fair understanding of how much Beethoven was loved, not only by publishers and printers, but also by ordinary people who liked sending mementos or greetings with his image. 

Used vintage postcards are particularly interesting, because the postmark turns them into documentary evidence of a specific time in people’s lives. They are a permanent record of an idea, an event, a mood, a memory, an expression of affection. Some do not have stamps or cancellations because privacy was important even in those times, so they were sent in sealed envelopes. Others bear dates and special Beethoven-themed cancellation marks.