International Research: Nazi-Era Cultural Property

Deutsches Kunstarchiv im Germanischen Nationalmuseum

The Deutsches Kunstarchiv in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, is the largest archive of primary documentation relating to German art and culture. Its holdings cover the fine arts in German-speaking countries, with a focus on hand- and typewritten manuscripts as well as personal documents such as letters, and professional records of the careers of artists and art historians as well as art institutions and galleries. In addition to gathering and preserving artists' and art historians' estates in order to catalogue them and make them publicly available, the Deutsches Kunstarchiv is actively engaged in researching its own holdings as the basis for exhibitions, publications and lectures.

The Galerie Heinemann Munich was founded in 1872 by David Heinemann (1819-1902) and was numbered amongst the most important art dealerships in Germany until its Aryanization in 1938. The gallery, which operated internationally, had several branch offices in cities such as Frankfurt am Main, Nice and New York. It specialized in 19th and early 20th century German art, but also dedicated itself to English, French and Spanish art. Altogether it organized approximately 300 solo and thematic group exhibitions between 1880 and 1935.

The Galerie Heinemann project, comprising digitization, data entry and internet presentation of the gallery's documents, is the first major digitization project of German dealer records relevant to the Nazi era. The provision of dealer records online is a significant development in assisting researchers internationally in documenting provenance. The Galerie Heinemann project was developed by the Deutsches Kunstarchiv in cooperation with the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, as well as with the conceptual assistance of Facts & Files, Historisches Forschungsinstitut Berlin (Historic Research Institute). The Arbeitsstelle für Provenienzrecherche/ -forschung (Bureau for Provenance Research and Investigation), Berlin, approved and provided financial support for the project in spring 2009. The Galerie Heinemann internet database was activated on July 29, 2010.

Galerie Heinemann

Galerie Heinemann online

The Galerie Heinemann online database facilitates searches of the records of the Munich art dealer Galerie Heinemann (1872-1938), with a focus on the period from 1890 to 1938. It makes information accessible on approximately 43,500 important paintings from all centuries as well as on about 13,000 persons and institutions associated with the acquisition or sale of these paintings.

The database includes the business records (stock ledgers, purchase books and cash books) and the eight card indexes of the gallery (artworks sold, buyers, locations of buyers, artworks in stock, artworks offered in journals, exhibitions, artworks offered for sale, consignors), which are in the Deutsches Kunstarchiv, as well as the catalogs and photographs, which are stored in the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich. Searches are available for individual artworks and associated information, which includes data on artists, clients, purchases and sales. The database provides both a transcription of the most important content of the records, as well as scans of the original documents. The database facilitates a simple search within a full-text search mode as well as an advanced search with selected search fields.

The database currently consists of 43,703 images of documents from three basic types of artworks:

  • Heinemann artworks: Works traded by Galerie Heinemann (17,582 artwork data records)
  • Commission Return: Goods on consignment that were not sold and were later returned to the consignor (19,471 artwork data records)
  • Offer: Artworks offered, but not accepted and not traded (6,073 artwork data records)

The site provides literature and information on the history and range of Galerie Heinemann. An online inventory for the complete holdings of the Galerie Heinemann in the Deutsches Kunstarchiv is available. This inventory also includes documents that are not part of the database: the Heinemann family's personal documents, especially with regard to their emigration and the related payment of taxes and compulsory charges, account books for private and business accounts and the gallery's balance sheets for the years 1926 to 1937.

For more information, please visit the Deutsches Kunstarchiv im Germanischen Nationalmuseum.

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