The History of the Library
The Danish National Art Library can date its foundation back to 1754, when it was established as a small reference library for the use of the newly founded Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Today it has grown to be the largest specialist and research library in the Nordic countries in the fields of the history of art and architecture, art theory and museology – and it can be used by the entire population of Denmark.
The Danish National Art Library has over the years been extensively used by artists, architects and art historians as a source of inspiration and knowledge.
In return many of these people donated materials to the Library, so that today it contains extensive collections of documents, architectural drawings and photographs, which constitute an important source for Denmark’s history of art and architecture, as well as the history of art history and criticism in Denmark.
Read more about this under Collections and archives.
The Library brings together a number of originally independent units, among which the most important are The Collection of Architectural Drawings, the Art Historical Picture Archive]5 and Weilbach’s Archive and, following library fusions in 2006 and 2012, The Library of the National Gallery of Denmark and the Museological Library.
Today these units are fully integrated into our Library.
- 1754 Foundation of Det Kgl. Danske Kunstakademi (The Royal Danish Academy of Art) (and its library)
- 1758 The Library is mentioned for the first time in the Academy’s charter
- 1810 King Frederik VI buys the painter Nicolai Abildgaard’s book collection and presents it to the Art Academy’s Library
- 1814 Torkel Baden succeeds the first Academy Librarian, the miniaturist Wilhelm Andreas Müller
- 1825 Just Mathias Thiele succeeds Baden as Librarian
- 1846 Acquisition of the first architectural drawings
- 1853 Acquisition of the first photographs
- 1856 The History of Art is established as a university subject
- 1874 Julius Lange replaces Thiele as Librarian
- 1883 Philip Weilbach replaces Lange as Librarian
- The Library is moved into the newly completed Exhibition Building at Chalottenborg, the present address
- 1896-97 Second edition of Philip Weilbach’s Nyt Dansk Kunstnerleksikon
- 1901 P. Johansen replaces Weilbach as Librarian
- 1918 The National Art HIstorical Photography Collection is established
- 1926-27 The Collection of Architectural Drawings is established and architect Knud Millech is involved in organising and cataloguing
- 1927 The Library becomes ”Danmarks kunsthistoriske Hovedbibliotek” (The Danish art historical main library) due to a general agreement on the distribution of responsibilities among research libraries
- 1929 Aage Marcus succeeds P. Johansen as Librarian
- 1935 Dansk Kunsthistorisk Bibliografi (The Danish Art Historical Bibliography) (edited by Aage Marcus og Merete Bodelsen) is published
- 1958 Henrik Bramsen succeeds Marcus as Librarian
- 1968 The lending out of art-historical slides is initiated
- 1971 The Bibliography of Danish art (BDK) is begun
- The National Art-Historical Photographic Collection is amalgamated with the Library
- 1977 Hakon Lund succeeds Bramsen as Head Librarian
- 1979 The Library is expanded with extra rooms for Samlingen af Arkitekturtegninger (The Collection of Architectural Drawings.
- 1991 The Library is given a database in REX, the Library's first online catalogue
- 1996 The Library becomes an independent national institution under the Ministry of Culture
- 1998 Patrick Kragelund succeeds Hakon Lund as Director
- 2000 The Collection of Architectural Drawings is given new premises at Charlottenborg Castle
- 2001 The Library is now open for electronic lending-out
- 2002 The entire stock from 1754 onwards is made electronically accessible, as is the Bibliography of Danish Art
- 2003 The indexes to records of the Collection of Architectural Drawings and the Art-Historical Picture Archive become on-line searchable
- The Art-Historical Picture Archive and Weilbachs Arkiv are given a new, common study room at Charlottenborg
- 2003-04 The Library undergoes rebuilding
- 2004 The Library reopens as Danmarks Kunstbibliotek (The Danish National Art Library)
- 2006 The library at The National Gallery of Denmark is amalgamated with The Danish National Art LIbrary
- 2007 The Library opens a branch with its own study room in the Egmont Videncenter at The National Gallery of Denmark. The book collection is now 100% electronically searchable and available for requests
- The Study Room – Danish Architecture and Art is opened
- 2010 New secure storage opens at Transformervej 21 B in Herlev
- 2011 The Library commences a major digitalisation programme
- The New Study Room for Architecture and Rare Materials is opened in Herlev
- 2012 The Museological Library is amalgamated with The Danish National Art Library
- 2013 The secure storage is extended with extra magazine and new registration office