Goethe the autograph hunter | DW Travel | DW | 22.01.2015
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Goethe the autograph hunter

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had a fascinating with collecting signed manuscripts of prominence. He built up a collection of around 2000 such works, with some shown in a new exhibition in Weimar.

Ausstellung Von Mozart bis Napoleon im Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv in Weimar

Curator Evelyn Liepsch shows a letter from Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria from 1824

The aging poet collected the manuscripts of well known personalities with great zeal. "Of his collection of 2000 autographed works, around 1500 were gathered during the last 25 years of his life," curator Evelyn Liepsch of the Goethe and Schiller Archive in Weimar explains. Fourteen of the most fascinating examples in the collection are now presented together in the exhibition "From Mozart to Napoleon."

Besides letters, memos, registry entries and musical notations, he sought out signatures like that of Napoleon. Goethe met the French Emperor personally in Erfurt, in 1808. Friends and acquaintances also assisted the poet with his passion, helping him seek out new procurements.

It was through such a friend that Goethe took receipt of a document from Vienna - what would later be identified as a fragment of Mozart's Piano Fantasia in C minor. Today the piece is an essential document in Mozart research.

ks / jt (dpa)