The starting point for the Gerson Digital project, which started in 2013, was the influential publication by Horst Gerson (1907-1978), Ausbreitung und Nachwirkung der holländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts (1942), which considers the dispersal and reception of Dutch painting in just about every European country. The aim was and is to produce a fully revised, critically annotated and illustrated digital publication, and to stimulate and publish new research. A secondary aim is to enrich and deepen the art-historical information on the international context of Netherlandish art in RKDExplore.

This is the fourth publication in the Gerson Digital series. The first, concerning Poland, was published in 2013 and was supplemented by two additional articles in August 2014. The second publication concerning Denmark was released in 2015. The third one, published in 2017 and supplemented in 2018, is dedicated to Germany (the 17th century) and this part deals with Gerson's German chapter on  the 18th and 19th centuries (p. 299-350).

To illustrate and annotate Gerson’s chapters on Germany, Austria and Bohemia we started with an analysis of all the artists, art dealers and collectors mentioned by him, entering or supplementing information on them in RKDartists. By doing literature research as well as data research into RKDartists, we now have more than 2,000 artists, art dealers and collectors in our database of people related to the German project (click here). This number could grow in the future.

The second route we took was to find all the art works mentioned or indicated in Gerson’s publication on Germany, Austria, Silesia and Bohemia (c. 1,000), as well as art works that are not mentioned but that meet Gerson’s research criteria. The number of artworks (mainly paintings, drawings and prints) related to the German project which can be found in the database RKDimages, is over 10,000 (click here).

The information in the databases forms the foundation for the e-publication. The illustrations and facts concerning works of art are directly retrieved from RKDimages and shown in the digital publication and are linked to records concerning artists and collectors in the database RKDartists. Therefore, the information in the databases functions as an extension of the documentary apparatus of the publication. To avoid redundancy, only the most relevant literature regarding artists is included in the notes of the publication.

Two kinds of notes are found in the translated Gerson text: notes by Gerson himself as they occur in the German text of 1942/1983, which are flagged by [Gerson 1942/1983], and ones preceded by [Van Leeuwen 2018]. The literature for both kinds of notes is standardized and abbreviated. All the abbreviations, including the ones to supplementary articles, may be found in the bibliography. It is possible to append articles to this publication in the future. After all, the great advantage of a digital publication is that it can always be altered and amplified. Every emendation will be included in the colophon along with its date.

This digital publication does not feature page numbers. To quote from this publication, we suggest references to its section numbers.

Rieke van Leeuwen

The Hague, October 18th, 2018