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COLLECTION Identifier: SC 30

Dietlinde Hamburger Collection of Carl Grossberg Papers, 1914-1999


This collection is composed of materials relating to Dietlinde Hamburger’s research on the artist Carl Grossberg for her Ph.D. dissertation, and the process of publishing said dissertation. The bulk of the collection dates from 1926 to 1940 and 1985 to 1992. The materials include photocopies of Grossberg’s correspondence, Hamburger’s dissertation correspondence, printed materials, newspaper clippings, notes, photographs, negatives, slides, recorded interviews, and assorted ephemera.


  • 1914-1999
  • Majority of material found in 1926-1940, 1985-1992

Conditions Governing Access

Access to most of the collection is unrestricted. Access to sensitive materials may be closed to research as noted in the finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright: Copyright in materials by Carl Grossberg is held by his heirs or assigns. Copyright in materials by Dietlinde Hamburger is held by her heirs or assigns. Copyright in other papers may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Harvard Art Museums Archives before publishing any material in the collection. Copying: Photocopying of the collection is restricted until 2048. Reference photographs may be made by researchers in accordance with Harvard Art Museums Archives' procedures.


6.5 linear feet (13 file boxes, 1 oversize folder)
This collection is composed of materials relating to Dietlinde Hamburger’s research on the artist Carl Grossberg for her Ph.D. dissertation, and the process of publishing said dissertation. It includes photocopies and transcriptions of Grossberg’s personal and business correspondence, as well as exhibition catalogues, newspaper articles, journal articles, and book chapters that discuss Grossberg. Other materials in the collection include Hamburger’s dissertation correspondence and drafts; research notes; copies of articles and chapters from books on 20th century art history; photographs as well as photocopies of works by Grossberg and other modern artists, likely taken from exhibition catalogues; copies of Westermanns Monatshefte that feature Grossberg’s illustrations; photo negatives and slides predominantly of works by Grossberg and his contemporaries; notecards; and recorded audio interviews with Elsa Rogo, the widow of Stefan Hirsch and friend of Grossberg, and Ilse Hesslein, one of Grossberg’s interior design clients. The materials date from 1914 to 1999, and the bulk is between 1926-1940 and 1985-1992.

As much of the material related to Grossberg are photocopies of original correspondence or similar materials, the processing archivist elected to date folders so that the dates reflect when the content of the original was created rather than when copies were made. Photocopies that do not indicate when the original material was created have been labeled “undated.”

The materials have been re-housed into archival folders and boxes. Containers and their contents have been kept in their original order, and materials that were kept in binders have been foldered and numbered to indicate that they represent a part of a larger whole (for example: “folder 1 of 2”). Original folder and container names have been retained where applicable; English translations of German titles have been included and written in brackets, as are artificially constructed titles for untitled folders/groupings. Researchers should also note that folder titles are not always accurate or reflective of content. In cases where the folder title and content differ significantly, a note has been added at the folder level. Most material is written in either German or English; materials written in additional languages have been noted at the folder level.

Post-It notes were employed by Hamburger in her notes and removed by the processing archivist for preservation; those that were used to cross-reference pages, contained comments, or could not be read by the processing archivist were preserved. Preservation photocopies of the notes have been inserted behind the appropriate originals.

Biography: Carl Grossberg

Carl Grossberg was an artist, architect, and interior designer who was a member of the New Objectivity movement (Neue Sachlichkeit) and known for his depictions of industrial landscapes. He was born Georg Carl Wilhelm Grandmontagne on September 6, 1894 in Elberfeld, Germany. His father, Georg Grossberg, would change the family name from Grandmontagne to Grossberg in 1914 as a response to anti-French sentiment. Grossberg attended RWTH Aachen University from 1913 to 1914, where he studied architecture and painting under August von Brandis before being drafted into the German military in 1914. Grossberg served with the 118th Landwehr Infantry Regiment. When he was released from service in 1919, Grossberg applied and was accepted to the Weimar Saxon Grand Ducal Art School, which would soon be merged with the Weimar Academy of Fine Art to create the Bauhaus, where he studied under Lyonel Feininger.  

Grossberg moved to Sommerhausen in August 1921 and began residing in one of the medieval towers along the city wall, where he and his family would live until his death in 1940. He married Mathilde (Tilde) Schwarz in 1923, and together they had two daughters: Eva and Leonore, born in 1924 and 1927 respectively. 

Grossberg’s early works consisted of urban cityscapes, architectural studies, and surreal factory scenes that he called his dream pictures (Traumbilder). His interest moved further into industrial themes by the late 1920s and would stay firmly within that realm until his death. Grossberg used this interest to supplement his income following the stock market collapse by fulfilling industrial commissions; notable commissioning companies include BEWAG Berlin (Berliner Städtische Elektrizitätswerke Akt.-Ges.), NORTA (Norddeutsche Tapetenfabrik Hölscher
Biography: Dietlinde Hamburger Dietlinde Hamburger nee Röll was born in Würzburg, West Germany in 1958. She began studying the cello at the University of Music Würzburg before switching to German, English, and art history at the University of Würzburg and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1980. The following year she began a master’s program in American Studies at Yale University, and obtained her M.A. in 1982. At Yale she met her husband, fellow student Jeffrey Hamburger, and they married in 1986. 

Hamburger obtained her PhD in Art History from the University of Kassel in 1990 with a dissertation on the German artist Carl Grossberg titled Industrie and Imagination: Carl Grossberg (1894-1940) und die Neue Sachlichkeit. The dissertation is the most extensive work on Grossberg available and makes thorough use of his personal estate as well as interviews with Grossberg’s family, friends, and acquaintances.  

Hamburger was a Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellow for the Hirschhorn Museum from 1986 to 1987 and worked as the curator of the University of Toronto Museum of Art from 1997 to 2000. She authored and curated “Reclaiming a Lost Generation: The Feldberg Collection” (2002), co-authored Lyonel Feininger in Ribnitz und Damgarten (2016), and translated the book Crown and Veil: Female Monasticism from the Fifth to the Fifteenth Century (2008) from German into English.

Dietlinde Hamburger passed away in Belmont, Massachusetts in 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Dietlinde Hamburger Collection of Carl Grossberg papers was donated by Jeffrey Hamburger in May 2018.

Related Materials

Works of art by Grossberg are held in the collection of the Busch-Reisinger Museum.

Papers of Grossberg’s teacher, Lyonel Feininger, and of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius are held in the Harvard Art Museums Archives.

Box and Folder Locations

  1. Box 1: 1-17
  2. Box 2: 18-30
  3. Box 3: 31-52
  4. Box 4: 53-61
  5. Box 5: 62-75
  6. Box 6: 76-91
  7. Box 7: 92-105
  8. Box 8: 106-124
  9. Box 9: 125-151
  10. Box 10: 152-183
  11. Box 11: 184-194
  12. Box 12: 195-205
  13. Box 13: 206-217

Processing Information

The collection was processed in Fall 2019 by Andrea Pakula under the supervision of Megan Schwenke.
Dietlinde Hamburger Collection of Carl Grossberg Papers (SC 30), 1914-1999: A Guide
Harvard Art Museums Archives
These papers were processed with the generous support of the Care of Busch-Reisinger Museum Collections Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Art Museums Archives Repository

The Harvard Art Museums Archives is the official repository for institutional records and historical documents in all formats relating to the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 1895 to the present. Its collections include significant papers of individuals and groups associated with the museums' history, as well as correspondence with collectors, gallery owners, museum professionals, and notables throughout the twentieth century. Its holdings also document the formation of the museums' collections and its mission as a teaching institution.

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