Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

A systematic programme of provenance research has been in operation at the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) since 1999.Provenance research at the Bavarian State Painting Collections covers all works of art acquired or added to the inventory after 1933 and created before 1945. In accordance with the resolution made at the Holocaust Conference of 1998 in Washington the holdings in the Pinakothek Museums and branch galleries are being examined to ascertain whether these include works of art formerly in Jewish ownership that were illegitimately seized during the Nazi era. The goal is to create a complete documentation of each work’s provenance, as far as possible, so as to facilitate the clarification of ownership.

Approximately 4400 paintings and 770 sculptures are being proactively examined. At the first stage, checks are made on these works of art with regard to unclarified provenances. This applies to some 1500 works, some of which have either unclarified or incomplete provenances. After grouping the objects into appropriate work complexes, research on individual items is started. Reports are continuously uploaded onto the ‘Lost Art’ Internet platform if it cannot be absolutely precluded that the works were not looted or acquired as a result of persecution. The number of reports has steadily been rising and reflects the Bavarian State Painting Collections’ endeavour to analyse its holdings and register looted works of art.

The Department of Provenance Research comprises a total of four members of staff under the direction of Dr. Andrea Bambi.

‘Transfers of state-owned property

Bildrückseite des Werkes »Zur Schwemme« von Julius Bergmann, aus dem Konvolut der »Überweisungen aus Staatsbesitz«, vorbereitet für die Protokollierung der Provenienzmerkmale
©Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

‘Transfers of state-owned property’ were first examined by Florian Wimmer [†] and Anja Zechel in 2013. Johannes Gramlich succeeded Florian Wimmer in July 2016. The scope of research covers some 900 paintings and scultpures that once hung in the offices and homes of high-ranking Nazis and that entered museum holdings after the end of the war. The artworks are from the collections of Martin Bormann, Heinrich Hoffmann, Eva Braun, Hans Frank, among others, that were expropriated after 1945 or hung in buildings such as the Nazi Party Chancellery, the ‘Führerbau’ (Führer’s Building) and the Platterhof in Obersalzberg. Ilse von zur Mühlen researched the ‘transfers of state-owned property’ between 1999 and 2002 and published a catalogue in 2004 on Hermann Göring’s art collection. Up until December 2015, 236 objects had been registered on the ‘Lost Art’ website, including the results of this research. Other artworks from these holdings are continuously being uploaded on ‘Lost Art’. This project’s goal is to reconstruct, analyse and put in writing the fundamental decision processes and motives that led to such transfers.


Classical Modernism

Bildrückseite des Gemäldes »Sitzende Frau« von Pablo Picasso mit Widmung des Künstlers: »Pour M. Werner«
©Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Johanna Poltermann joined the Department of Provenance Research at the Bavarian State Painting Collections in March 2015. Together with Andrea Bambi, research already started on major works of Classical Modernism in the holdings of the Pinakothek der Moderne is to be completed. The focus of this proactive research is on the some 240 major works by Classical Modernist artists, most of which can be seen in the permanent exhibition. These include paintings and sculptures by the Expressionist avant-garde, ranging from Ernst Barlach, Karl Hofer and Oskar Kokoschka to the ‘Brücke’ and ‘Blue Rider’ artists, including the extensive collection of works by Max Beckmann. Virtually all these works were post-war acquisitions. The large majority of them entered the Bavarian State Painting Collections as donations and purchases from private collections. The emphasis of this research, therefore, has been on works from the former collections of Sofie and Emanuel Fohn, Theodor and Woty Werner, Martha and Markus Kruss and Günther Franke.


The Alfred Flechtheim Project

Screenshot der Website
©Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Up until March 2014, the Bavarian State Painting Collections, together with 14 other museums, displayed works of art with a provenance linked to Alfred Flechtheim’s galleries at a series of exhibitions and on a dedicated website. The works shown entered the respective collections along a variety of different routes. Some of the works were acquired by the musems from Alfred Flechtheim directly, either as purchases, gifts or as a result of his mediation. Other works were sold by him to third parties and entered the museums – mostly after 1945 – after several interim stations. The website can still be accessed online.


Further information on provenance research at the Bavarian State Painting Collections can be found here.

Head of the department provenance research: 
Dr. Andrea Bambi

Dr. Johannes Gramlich
Anja Zechel M. A.