AEPM 2020

Annual conference of the Association of European Printing Museums

Conference cancelled because of the corona virus outbreak


The importance of place: printing in the context of history and society

Offenbach, Germany
28-30 May 2020

Organised jointly by the Klingspor Museum and the Offenbach Local History Museum (Haus der Stadtgeschichte) in cooperation with the International Senefelder Foundation

The conference theme

If we draw a timeline from the inventor of typographical printing Johannes Gutenberg to the type founder Karl Klingspor, via the engraver Matthäus Merian and the inventor of lithography Alois Senefelder, we get a good idea of how the Rhein-Main area of Germany has contributed to how texts and images have been reproduced over the centuries. As we move from Mainz to Frankfurt and from Offenbach to Darmstadt we become aware of what the region brought to the development of typography and the graphic arts.

Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 2018, the literary journalist Andreas Platthaus encouraged cities and regions to make their involvement in the historical development of printing better known, arguing that a better knowledge of their contribution to the development of the graphic arts would help strengthen regional identity and improve people’s understanding of printing as a means of dialogue and of the role of that dialogue in the progress of society.

Following up on the themes developed in recent AEPM conferences the Offenbach event will focus on the geographical situation, urban milieu and social conditions in which printers and printing operate.

The city of Offenbach, where the AEPM’s 2020 conference will be held, offers a very special illustration of such an approach: it hosted the early printing of Hebrew texts in the 18th century; it was there that Alois Senefelder invented his revolutionary lithographic printing technique and gave a new impetus to music printing; it was also in Offenbach that the brothers Karl and Wilhelm Klingspor developed typography in its artistic dimensions; and the list is far from complete.

Speakers at the conference will evoke some of the better-known chapters in the story while at the same time bringing to light new aspects of the City’s contribution to the development of the graphic arts. New perspectives will be opened up during behind-the-scenes visits to the important collections of the City’s Klingspor Museum and Haus der Stadtgeschichte (Local History Museum), and to the exceptional printing workshop at the Haus der Industriekultur (Center for Industrial Culture) at Darmstadt and to the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz.


In addition to the talks and visits, AEPM 2020 will offer an opportunity to see how lithography was practiced in the very earliest days of the process with a demonstration of Senefelder’s so-called Stangen-Presse (pole press). Artist and printer Volker Steinbacher will take us on an insider’s visit to the printing workshop at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (Design University) at Offenbach. And we will have a chance to discover the brand-new printing studio next to the Haus der Stadtgeschichte which will be just be getting underway at that moment. The importance of the City’s strong continuing links with the graphic industries will be highlighted on the occasion of a visit and reception offered by Manroland, one of Europe’s leading sheetfed press manufacturers.

Welcome to Offenbach!


Joseph Belletante, curator of the Museum of printing and graphic communication, Lyon, France.

Françoise and Johannes Despalles-Strugalla, Despalles éditions, Paris (France) and Mainz (Germany).

Dr Eva Hanebutt-Benz, former curator of the Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, Germany.

Martyn Kramek, Book Art Museum, Lodz, Poland.

Walter Raffaelli, Raffaelli editore, Rimini, Italy.

Stefan Soltek, director of the Klingspor Museum, Offenbach, Germany.

Christina Wildgrube, Bildende Künstlerin, Leipzig, Germany




Klingspor Museum
Herrnstrasse 80
Offenbach am Main
63065 Germany