Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

Rudolf von Alt (1812–1905). Drawings and watercolours

The project initiated together with the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte is investigating the provenance of 617 drawings and watercolours by Jakob von Alt (1789–1872) and his son Rudolf von Alt (1812–1905).

The batch of works transferred in 1959 by the Treuhandverwaltung von Kulturgut (trustee management for cultural assets) in Munich was largely amassed by the Reichsleiter of the Nazi Party, Martin Bormann (1900–1945) and his middlemen on Hitler’s orders. In the 1930s many of these works on paper were still owned by Jewish collectors in Vienna.

These holdings were systematically examined and the results documented in an exhibition held in the rooms of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München at the Pinakothek der Moderne (23.07–11.10.2015) and in the catalogue Rudolf von Alt. ‘…genial, lebhaft, natürlich und wahr’. Der Münchner Bestand und seine Provenienz that was published in July 2015 by Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin. Both not only highlight the problematic reception history surrounding Rudolf von Alt’s work by the Nazis but also the challenges faced by provenance research.

The project was funded by the department of provenance research at the Institut für Museumsforschung in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin (now: Stiftung Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste, Magdeburg – German Lost Art Foundation), between December 2011 and September 2013