Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Provenance research on the painting “Wolkenschatten” by Walter Leistikow

funding area Nazi confiscated art Grant recipient Bröhan-Museum Berlin State Berlin Website Contact person
  • Dr. Anna Grosskopf
    Telephone: +49 (0) 30 326 906 21
Project type Short-term project to investigate matter of current interest Funding duration
  1. April 2016 to June 2016


In 1968, Karl H. Bröhan purchased the painting “Wolkenschatten” (Cloud Shadows) by Walter Leistikow (1902, oil on canvas, 74 x 100 cm) from a “private owner in Berlin”. The painting was gifted to the collection of the Bröhan-Museum by Karl H. Bröhan in 1982.

In August 2015, the Bröhan-Museum was presented with a restitution claim by the heirs of Oskar Skaller, a Berlin entrepreneur and art collector. This project intended to investigate the provenance of the painting between 1930 and 1968 and, if possible, fill in the remaining gaps in its provenance history. The aim was to clarify whether the painting “Wolkenschatten” had found its way into the art market as a result of Nazi persecution.

To begin with, research was conducted into the fate of the Skaller family during the Nazi period, particularly Oskar Skaller. His art collection and the whereabouts of its artworks were also the focus of investigations. Consignments to auctions prior to 1933 in the art salons of Paul Cassirer (1927) and Paul Graupe (1930) were examined and the identity of the work confirmed. Research on the auctioneer Rudolf Harms was hampered by missing business documentation.

A partial analysis of some of the fragmentary provenance markings remaining on the back of the painting ascertained that it had been included in exhibitions in Bremen and Zurich, among other locations.

© Bröhan-Museum Berlin, August 2016