Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum - Kunstmuseum des Landes Niedersachsen (Art Museum of the Federal State of Niedersachsen)
Research into Nazi-confiscated works of art in the museum's collection
Research has been done by the museum on works which were acquired in the 1940s from the art dealer H. W. Lange, Berlin; from the art dealer Heinrich Hahn, Frankfurt am Main; and from the art dealer Scheuermann und Seifert, Berlin.
The museum published a study about this research: Hansjörg Pötzsch, “Bitte großzügig bieten”. Die Erwerbungen des Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museums Braunschweig im überregionalen Kunsthandel 1942/43 und die schwierigen Recherchen zu deren Provenienz, Braunschweig 2012. The study had the following results:
- A so called „Schweizer Hochzeitsschrank“ (huge swiss wardrobe) from the Renaissance could be traced back to the former owner Helene Peipers. She sold the wardrobe to Heinrich Hahn in 1942 with no background of looted art (Bought for the museum from Hahn auction 17 /18 November 1942).
- Two paintings are now identified as looted artworks: Rombout van Troyen, “Felsgrotte mit Opferszene” (Grotto with a Sacrifice) and Max Joseph Wagenbauer, “Großes Bauerngehöft am Dorfrand” (Great Farm with a Village in the far Distance). They belonged to the Jewish physician Dr Hans Herxheimer from Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt 1880-1944 Theresienstadt). Meanwhile the painting by Troyen was restituted to the heirs of Dr Max Herxheimer. For the painting by Wagenbauer the heirs of Dr Herxheimer and the Museum agreed that the Museum paid a financial compensation in order to keep the painting in his collection. (Both of the two paintings were bought for the museum from Hahn auction 17 /18 November 1942).
- The Painting by Hans Thoma “Portrait of Cella Berteneder” (Monogramm, dated 1876; canvas on cardboard, 63,5 x 53 cm) stems from the collection of the Jewish Dealer Max Böhm, Berlin, who died in Theresienstadt 1944. Böhm had to sell his collection, probably due to financial reasons. The Collection was auctioned with Rudolph Lepke in 1931, but the Portrait of Cella Berteneder was not sold. It came to the art dealer Carl Nicolai in Berlin. Documents indicate that Nicolai offered the painting to the Jewish gallery Heinemann, in Munich in 1935 but Heinemann probably did not buy it. Nicolai probably found someone else in Munich who bought the painting: It was auctioned with Rudolf W. Lange, Berlin in 1943 from an unknown owner living in Munich. (The painting was bought for the museum from H.W. Lange auction 27-29 January 1943)
Unclear remains also whether the painting by Carl Joseph Begas, “Brustbild einer Dame” (Portrait of a Lady) was sold under proper circumstances or belongs to the category of looted artworks (it was bought from Scheuermann und Seifert Berlin in 1943).
Also the provenance of the following paintings which were acquired in the 1940s remained unclear despite of all efforts and research:
Andreas Achenbach, ”Hafenstädchen” (Town with Harbour), signed & dated 1873, panel, 29,5 x 41 cm, bought from H.W. Lange auction 16 / 17 April 1943;
Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, “Hügellandschaft mit romantischem Dom” (Hilly Landcape with Romantic Cathedral), signed, canvas, 49 x 68 cm, bought from H.W. Lange Berlin / Dorotheum Wien 5/6 October 1943;
Anthonie van Beerstraeten (copy), „Winterlandschaft mit Dorfstraße”, panel, 35,5 x 47 cm, bought from Hahn auction 17/18 November 1942;
Anton Burger, “Wassermühle am Laubwald”, panel, 17,5 x 25,5 cm, bought from Hahn auction 17/18 November 1942;
Franz Ludwig Catel, “Mänade auf einem Pantherfell”, canvas, 44,5 x 57 cm, bought from Hahn auction 17/18 November 1942.
Moreover we restituted a painting ascribed to Giovanni Battista Tiepolo to the heirs of Jacques Goudstikker already in November 2006. Investigations by Katja Terlau in cooperation with the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum had revealed that Jacques Goudstikker was forced to sell the painting to Herman Göring in 1940 (The painting was acquired in Vienna in 1943, auction of H.W. Lange).
In the graphic arts collection, research undertaken in preparation for a comprehensive publication on the Dörries collection of artists' self portraits which the museum acquired in 1994-5, brought to attention several works of unclear provenance. The three works are self portraits on paper by Lovis Corinth (originally in the collection of Julius Freund, Berlin and put up for aucton in Lucerne by the Galerie Fischer in March 1942), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (confiscated in 1937 as "degenerate art" from the Graef Donation, Jena Kunstverein) and Otto Dix. Provenance Information and illustrations are published in the Doerries Collection catalogue (see details below) or can be obtained from the Central Registry.
Research into the museum's other collection areas is currently in progress.
Regine Nahrwold, Künstler sehen sich selbst - Graphische Selbstbildnisse des 20. Jahrhunderts: Bestandsverzeichnis einer Sammlung (Braunschweig: Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, 2000)
Hansjörg Pötzsch, “Bitte großzügig bieten”. Die Erwerbungen des Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museums Braunschweig im überregionalen Kunsthandel 1942/43 und die schwierigen Recherchen zu deren Provenienz, Braunschweig 2012.
Professor Dr. Jochen Luckhardt, Director
Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum - Kunstmuseum des Landes Niedersachsen
D - 38100 Braunschweig
Tel: +49 (0) 531 1225 0
Central Registry Archives, Written communication from the Herzon Anton Ulrich Museum 4 April 2014