Showing posts with label Picasso. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Picasso. Show all posts

Sep 12, 2023

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: no provenances for Picasso?

How can a major American museum fail to publish provenance information for European artworks created before 1933?
PhotoShort TitleDateAccNumCredit LineProvenance
Pedestal Table (Translation)192247.10.80T. Catesby Jones CollectionNO PROVENANCE
The Banjo Player (Primary Title)192147.10.81T. Catesby Jones CollectionNO PROVENANCE
The Horse (Primary Title)190185.795Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul MellonNO PROVENANCE
Head of a Peasant Woman (Former Title)190647.10.78T. Catesby Jones CollectionNO PROVENANCE
Still Life (Wineglass and Newspaper) (Primary Title)ca. 1913–447.10.83T. Catesby Jones CollectionNO PROVENANCE
Fool on Horseback (Former Title)190584.2Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul MellonNO PROVENANCE
Landscape (Translation)190747.10.79T. Catesby Jones CollectionNO PROVENANCE

Jun 20, 2023

Picasso in Museums around the world

Twenty-five years have passed since the Washington Conference on Holocaust era assets.
Yet there is still no central database of museum artworks with their provenances. Some museums - big museums, university art museums - still publish no provenance at all.
Projects are announced, appear, disappear, each separate. There is no central tracking of Nazi era provenance gaps.  The scale is enormous. The number of artworks with unclear ownership history for the Nazi era remains extremely high.

Given the enormity of the task, this post looks at the situation in museums for a single artist: Picasso.
(update ongoing)


Collection Before 1945 Image? Provenance? Nazi-era Gaps?
MoMA 659 yes sometimes yes
NGA 258 yes yes yes
Pompidou 59 yes no yes
Musée Picasso 4000+ all dates yes no unknown
Albertina 40 yes no yes
Hermitage 36 yes no yes
Fondation Beyeler 22 yes yes yes
Museums in Denmark 133 yes yes yes
UK Collections Trust 16 no yes yes
Pinakothek (Munich) 14 no no yes
Kunstmuseum Basel 66 yes NO yes
Kunstmuseum Bern 9 -on display or Gurlitt yes yes - PDF yes
Metropolitan Museum 56 yes yes yes
MFA 29 yes yes yes
DIA 21 NO yes yes
Harvard Art Museums 20 yes yes yes-11
Yale Art 35 yes yes yes
Cleveland 19 yes yes yes
Princeton Museum 6 yes NO yes
Emil Bührle Collection 5 yes yes yes
Musée d'Orsay 1 yes yes yes
Rose Art Museum 4 yes no yes


Museum of Modern Art - MoMa (USA)

Query for Picasso (all)  1246 artworks all dates

(659 artworks is an estimation, because the query picks up some other artists as well)


MFA Boston (USA)

UK Collections Trust:

Pinakothek (Munich)

Museums in Denmark

Rose Art Museum (USA)
* no provenance information *

Dec 23, 2021

The Art Loss Register Ltd Speech given at a Symposium in Amsterdam on 30th January 2008 hosted by Sotheby’s Auctioneers

 Our research began in August 2002 when we were asked to record a picture by Picasso ‘Still Life with Painting’ on the ALR database by two claimants living in England and the USA.   

As proof of ownership, they showed us a page from an exhibition catalogue for an exhibition of Dutch paintings held at the Stedelijk Museum from February to April 1939.  

Although the lender was noted as ‘Private Collection, Amsterdam’, the archives of the Stedelijk Museum held documents that could prove that the lender of the Picasso was their great-aunt,  Dr Meyer-Udewald, then living at an address in Vijzelstraat, Amsterdam.   

Within a week, we traced the Picasso to a private collection in the USA where it had been since 1952 but we had little idea then that we were facing four years of meticulous research in eleven countries to piece together how the Picasso had come to rest where it did.    

In the course of that research, not only did we reconstruct the provenance of this early Picasso but we discovered that, thanks to a Will written in 1925 by a Mr Schlesinger of Hamburg, that the claimants who had approached the ALR were not, after all, entitled to claim the Picasso as a war loss as their great aunt had only been granted a life interest in it.  

On her death, whenever that took place, the Picasso was to revert to Mr Schlesinger’s wife and children.    We discovered Käthe Schlesinger and the three children emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1938, settling in the USA and we located the heirs and advised them about the Picasso.   

Dr Meyer-Udewald, who was also Jewish, had emigrated from Hamburg to Tilburg in the Netherlands in 1936 loaning the Picasso to the Stedelijk Museum three years later.  In 1940, Dr Meyer Udewald moved to Belgium.  Once in Belgium, Dr Meyer-Udewald moved between safe houses in Brussels and Antwerp until she was betrayed and sent to the transit camp for Jewish prisoners at Malines.  

On 20 September 1943, she was deported from Malines to Auschwitz where she died.  Her premature death activated the terms of the 1925 Will of Ernst Schlesinger.  In wartime Brussels, the Picasso passed through the hands of Joseph Albert Dederen, a resident of Brussels and Dr Robyn, who loaned the picture to an exhibition in Knokke, its first public reappearance after the war.  The painting then surfaced at the Bollag Gallery in Zurich from whom it was purchased by the Galerie Benador, Geneva.  In October 1952, the Picasso was acquired in good faith by Duncan Phillips, founder of the Phillips Collection in Washington DC.   Following the ALR’s reconstruction of the provenance, we negotiated a settlement on behalf of the heirs of Ernst Schlesinger with the legal representative of Duncan V. Phillips.

The Art Loss Register Ltd

A Database for Nazi Looted Art Claims 

Speech given at a Symposium in Amsterdam on 30th January 2008 hosted by Sotheby’s Auctioneers