Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen and Museum Folkwang in Essen launch provenance research project

Date 2017.07.10

Kun­st­mu­se­um Gelsenkirchen and Mu­se­um Folk­wang in Es­sen are launch­ing a joint prove­nance re­search project. It will en­able in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to works in the two col­lec­tions that were ac­quired by the Abels art deal­er fam­i­ly (Cologne and Dres­den). The project is sup­port­ed by the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion.
The project fo­cus­es on the ques­tion of whether any of the works may have been ob­tained as a re­sult of Nazi per­se­cu­tion. The Cologne gal­leries of Her­mann and Aenne Abels played a promi­nent part in the Rhine art mar­ket un­til the end of the 1960s: both gal­leries sold 19th cen­tu­ry, Im­pres­sion­ist and Clas­si­cal Mod­ernist works to many mu­se­ums in the Rhineland, the Ruhr and West­phalia. Be­cause Her­mann and Aenne Abels con­tin­ued to trade through­out the Sec­ond World War and af­ter 1945, and due to oth­er sus­pi­cious fac­tors, ac­qui­si­tions with this prove­nance are be­ing ex­am­ined to es­tab­lish whether they are Nazi-con­fis­cat­ed prop­er­ty.

The project al­so aims to build a database of all works of art from the Abels gal­leries that were trad­ed be­tween 1933 and 1968 and which are still held in the two mu­se­ums. This will cre­ate a dig­i­tal, up­dat­able search tool that will be avail­able for long-term, sus­tained prove­nance re­search.