Artists’ books and editions

The Prints and Drawings Department of the National Library collects artists’ books, editions and books containing original graphic works as well as special editions as a specific area of contemporary Swiss art from the end of the 19th century to the present day.

Künstlerbücher und Editionen
Dominik Stauch, The Big Showdown, Zürich: Wolfensberg-Verlag, 2011
© Thomi Wolfensberger, Foto: NB, Simon Schmid

Content and scope

  • From the end of the 19th century and its origins as the collection of book art, through to the latest contemporary artists’ publications
  • Illustrated books, books with original graphic works and special editions
  • Important publishers’ programmes from French-speaking Switzerland, such as the “livres d’artistes” by Albert Skira and Edition Gonin
  • From 1950 to 1990 artists’ books and editions featuring international artists such as Daniel Spoerri, Dieter Roth, André Thomkins and artist-publishers such as the Ecart group in Geneva
  • From 1990 to today, in parallel with current special forms such as the “bande dessinée”, “zines” and photo books
  • Since 2000 additionally the entire programmes of Swiss art publishers such as Edizioni Periferia (Lucerne), EAC les Halles (Porrentruy), Boabooks (Geneva), Marlène Frei (Zurich) and Edition Multiple (Bern)

Collection principles

  • Artists’ books and editions, closely linked to the general library collection
  • Media documenting current trends in artistic production
  • Unique artists’ books and small print-run, self-published works, as well as artists’ books / editions in every printed form

Research and access

  • A large proportion of the artists’ books and editions are listed in the Helveticat library catalogue
  • The originals of artists’ books and editions can be viewed on site. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.

Last modification 01.02.2023

Top of page


Swiss National Library
Prints and Drawings Department
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 462 89 71

Print contact

Opening hours

by appointment