Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Provenance investigations/research at Kunstsammlung Jena

funding area Nazi confiscated art Grant recipient Kunstsammlung Jena State Thuringia Website https://www.kunstsammlung-jena.de/de/kunstsammlung/provenienzforschung/719092 Contact person Project type Long-term project to systematically investigate collection holdings Funding duration
  1. January 2014 to January 2015
  2. January 2015 to December 2015
  3. February 2016 to January 2018

Description

Kunstsammlung Jena (Jena Art Collection) first took advantage of the opportunity to systematically examine the provenance of its own holdings in 2014. The Jenaer Kunstverein (Jena Art Association) collection, which was compiled by the association in the early decades of the 20th century and later passed on to the Stadtmuseum (city museum), formed the basis of the present-day Kunstsammlung art collection, which contains works from a wide variety of backgrounds.
The provenance research is not only intended to provide certainty about whether any works classified as Nazi-confiscated property are to be found among the collection objects. Rather, it also aims to expand the level of knowledge about the collection and close existing knowledge gaps as regards the circumstances and dates of individual acquisitions.

The project in numbers

Of the 4,000 works in the collection holdings at the beginning of the investigation, approx. 2,900 could be excluded at the outset because they had either been produced after 1945 or had entered the collection before 1933. All other works that do not meet these provenance criteria constitute the group of “suspicious” works whose provenance needed to be checked. These included works of private origin which had been obtained as a donation, as part of an estate or as a purchase; works from the holdings of the former art association; state property (land reform, GDR/Soviet Occupation Zone); works from the ZIMET collection; works of unknown origin; works exchanged between museums; donations from the Volkshochschule Jena or the Stadtarchiv Jena. Clarification of the origins of these works was the purpose of the provenance research project at Kunstsammlung Jena.

List of persons and institutions historically relevant to the project

In addition to the predominantly private individuals from Jena and the surrounding area, it is primarily Werner Meinhof, director of the art association from 1936 to 1940, who is at the center of the investigations. Not only was he a member of the Nazi Party, he was also responsible for a questionable acquisition and procurement policy. Among his business transactions are acquisitions from art dealers like Ackermann and Sauerwein and, besides these, an extensive exchange campaign with Galerie Nierendorf. In the following, persons and institutions are listed which have proven to be of special importance for the provenance research:

PERSONS

  • Dr. Fritz Böckel
  • Eugen Buchthal
  • Holde Bischoff / Renate Riemeck
  • Max Friedland
  • Erich Glas (Ari Glass)
  • Herbert Koch
  • Herta Langer
  • Werner Lenke
  • Werner Meinhof
  • Hanns H. Stinnes
  • Johanna Hofmann-Stirnemann
  • Curt Valentin
  • Wienke Zitzlaff

INSTITUTIONS

  • Kunstantiquariat Ackermann & Sauerwein
  • Kunstantiquariat Hollstein und Puppel bzw. Reinhold Puppel, Berlin
  • Kunstausstellung Kühl, Dresden
  • Galerie Nierendorf, Berlin
  • Galerie am Sachsenplatz, Leipzig
  • Moderne Kunst, Berlin
  • Galerie im Stadthaus, Jena
  • Kunsthandlung Eckardt, Jena
  • Kunsthandel Schmidt, Jena
  • Kunstantiquariat Franz Meyer, Dresden
  • Galerie Henze & Ketterer, Wichtrach (Schweiz)
  • Kunsthandel & Antiquariat Franz Peter Ruß, Bruckberg
  • Ladengalerie, Berlin
  • Kunsthandel Fichter, Frankfurt
  • Auktionshaus Wendl, Rudolstadt
  • VEB Antikhandel Gera/Weimar
  • Galerie Rolf Ohse, Bremen
  • Galerie Remmert und Barth, Düsseldorf
  • Galerie Brumme, Mainz
  • Dr. Habeck Kunsthandel GmbH, Aukrug

Publication

Auf dem Halbjahrestreffen des Arbeitskreises für Provenienzforschung e.V., das im April 2015 in Weimar abgehalten wurde, konnte das Projekt zum ersten Mal umfänglich der Öffentlichkeit in einem Vortrag vorgestellt werden. Ein schriftlicher Beitrag dazu erschien im Thüringer Museumsheft, Nr. 1/2015 mit dem Titel „Vermerk ‚Herkunft unbekannt’. Provenienzrecherche in der Kunstsammlung Jena“.

Ein weiterer Vortrag zur Provenienzrecherche in der Kunstsammlung fand am 18.11.2015 im Rahmen des Themenabends Walter Dexel in der Rathausdiele in Jena statt. Überdies berichteten diverse lokale Medien über die Provenienzrecherche in Jena, so unter anderem die Ostthüringer Zeitung (OTZ) vom 21.03.2014 in dem Artikel „Kaum NS-Raubkunst zu erwarten“.

Auf der Homepage der Städtischen Museen Jena ist die Provenienzforschung in einem eigenen Punkt aufgenommen. Eine ausführlichere Darstellung mit Fallbeispielen, Links zur Lost Art-Datenbank und dem DZK sind in Planung.

© Kunstsammlung Jena, Februar 2018