Throughout Aby Warburg’s life his family, research and the library he built up, were closely interconnected. His family and and the family business, M. M. Warburg & Co., made all his efforts possible, and he in turn never tired of justifying his work and declaring his projects to be important contributions to the family name. Until the construction of the library building in 1925-26, the collection was housed in the living quarters of the family home, but also open to scholars. In the same spirit, Warburg used to note events of his personal life alongside the developments of his thoughts in his working papers, and glued photographs of himself, of family members and/or assistants in the place of a frontispiece.

On June 13th 1866 our eldest son was born and named Aby, after my deceased father-in-law. He was a normal, pretty child, but due to the silly woman in childbed, an inexperienced mother and an elderly physician he was left for much too long with an unsuitable wet nurse and in consequence his condition deteriorated entirely

1. Charlotte Warburg: “Mutter und Vater” (1904). Facsimile copy of an illustrated family chronicle covering the time from Aby Warburg’s mother’s arrival in Hamburg in July 1864 to 1904. Sequel to a similar volume “Mutter” dedicated to her youth and the Oppenheim family in Frankfurt. Donated to the archive by the Prag family. Page 38 starts with the birth of Charlotte and Moritz’s Warburg’s first son, Aby.

2. Aby Warburg age 3-4 (1869).

3. Moritz (standing in the back) and Charlotte Warburg (in black, seated near the centre) with their children, their nanny and other relatives (early 1902); note Aby’s sisters Olga (3rd from the left) and Louise (seated at the front). 

4. Aby Warburg in his flat in Florence overlooking the river Arno and the church of S. Frediano (1888).

5. Aby Warburg and his fiancé Mary Hertz (1897). This is the official engagement photograph.

6. Aby and Mary Warburg with Elise and Heinrich Brockhaus, Director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, in Warburg’s apartment in Florence (1897).

7. Aby and Mary Warburg with their children Marietta, b. 1899, Max Adolph, b. 1902, and Frede b. 1904 (Hamburg, c. 1906).

8. Moritz Warburg (2nd from the left) with his sons Paul, Aby, Max and Felix (left to right, front to back), (c. 1902).

9. Outer cover of Aby Warburg’s spring back folder for his notes on Giordano Bruno (1928-1929). Inserted are two photographs of Aby Warburg and his assistant Gertrud Bing, the first taken in Orvieto in March 1929, the second on the balcony of their Roman hotel in November 1928. Inscriptions by Warburg. Warburg has glued a British Barbados one-penny stamp which relate to his earlier research on stamps and state insignia on the spring back folder.

10. Warburg and his brothers on 21 August 1929 after the first official meeting of the board of the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg.


Aby Warburg: A Life in Photographs
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