Project Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933
In 2012 the Rijksmuseum appointed a team of provenance researchers as part of the Dutch national research project Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933 (Museum Acquisitions from 1933 onwards). Focus of this research project is to establish whether any of the objects acquired by the museum between 1933 and 2012 and created before 1946 have questionable provenances during the time of the Third Reich. Hereby the guidelines of the Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933 are applied and one aims to clarify the provenance transactions during the period 1933-1945 in order to rule out or identify any outstanding losses due to Nazi persecution. Objects that have or may have changed ownership as a result of Nazi persecution are published accordingly on the website of the Museale Verwervingen.
Given the extend of the Rijksmuseum’s collection the provenance research is carried out in phases.
Paintings acquired between 1933-2012
The first phase of the project concerned those paintings of the Rijksmuseum’s collection, which were acquired in the period 1933-2012 and created before 1946. It did not include objects currently on loan from other museums or from the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands). Loans from the Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap (Royal Antiquities Society) and from private individuals were, however, included. In total 1,278 paintings were subject to this research.
It was established that 56% of the paintings concerned show no gaps during the period 1933-1945 and do also not represent any outstanding losses due to Nazi persecution.
For 44% of the paintings concerned the provenances during the period 1933-1945 could not be clarified. For the majority of those paintings the research has, however, brought no information to light that would lead to the assumption of a questionable provenance as per the guidelines of the Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933. Future research may, however, yield new facts that were not available at the time of completion of this research.
18 of the paintings with gaps in the provenances were found to have questionable provenance and published accordingly on the website of the Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933.
The results of the whole research into the provenances of the paintings are published under the object data for each individual object on the website of the Rijksmuseum.
Drawings acquired between 1933-2012
The second and current phase of the project concerns those drawings in the Rijksmuseum’s collection, which were acquired in the period 1933-2012 and created before 1946. For the approximately 19,500 drawings the internal sources, such as the inventory books and the inventory cards, were consulted. Through the internal research and the examination of individual collectors and dealers, some 9,000 drawings were confirmed to have no provenance gaps during the relevant years and do not represent any outstanding losses due to Nazi persecution. These provenances have been published on the Rijksmuseum’s website accordingly. The remaining approximately 10,500 drawings are currently under investigation.
The collection of Dr. Fritz Mannheimer
After phase one and the first part of phase two the research team examined the 1,703 objects in the Rijksmuseum that came from the collection of the German Jewish banker Dr. Fritz Mannheimer (Stuttgart 1890 – Vaucresson 1939).
Dr. Fritz Mannheimer (hereafter also referred to as Mannheimer) was a vivid collector and bought particularly during the 1930s, therefore the provenances of the objects coming from his collection had to be researched carefully. No previous research into the Mannheimer collection as a whole had been conducted and within two years of in-depth research a comprehensive picture of Mannheimer and his collection could be established.
Mannheimer purchased most of the objects from private individuals or international dealers, but he also bought from German museums and owned many objects from nationalized Russian state collections. Mannheimer acquired objects from Jewish collectors, who were persecuted by the Nazi regime. These objects required a lot of attention and one aimed to pin down when and in which manner they left the Jewish collections and came to Mannheimer.
Out of the 1,703 objects that were subject to this research, 185 were found to have questionable provenances according to the guidelines of the Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933. These include objects, which were previously in the collection of Franz and Margarete Oppenheimer as well as one object previously in the collection of Maximilian Benedikt Heyum Freiherr von Goldschmidt-Rothschild.
The whole research is documented in the Mannheimer report publicly accessible through the Rijksmuseum website. The results of the research into all the provenances is published under the object data for each individual object on the website of the Rijksmuseum. The objects with questionable provenances are further published on the website of the Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933.
View Mannheimer report (pdf)