Showing posts with label forgers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forgers. Show all posts

Apr 23, 2022

Forgery and false provenances

False provenances are needed to insert art forgeries into the historical record.

Where there is forgery there is false provenance.

Dealers who sell forgeries are great sources of false provenances. A special kind of writing is involved in the creation of false provenances. A talent for making things that are not true seem at least plausible. 

Question: Do dealers of forgeries also sell looted art?

Some, like Knoedler, are known to have sold both at one time or another. Knoedler's prestige and power enables it to insert lies into the historical record without being challenged for a very long time. 

What about the others? How to find out?

Feb 2, 2021

Lies Provenance Researchers Told

This post aims to collect, little by little, published provenances that have been proven to be false, and, where possible, to specify their authors and publishers.

Why try to identify lies in provenances?

Lying about the fate of artworks owned by Jewish collectors who were persecuted by the Nazis inserts false information into the historical record of the Holocaust. 

For a provenance researcher to do this deliberately is, in my opinion, a grave act of immorality which facilitates Holocaust denial. 

For a provenance researcher to do this "accidentally" is evidence of incompetence, which should be sanctioned and not rewarded by employers and funders.

Readers are invited to add examples of published false provenances in the comments.


False Provenances Concerning Ownership during the Nazi Era by Artist 

Gustav Klimt

Edgar Degas, Landscape with Smokestacks

(read Simon Goodman's The Orpheus Clock on the battle to establish the correct provenance for the Degas looted from his grandfather.)

Marc Chagall


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

- Provenance errors by Nazi art collector Kurt Feldhäusser and the Museum of Modern Art in New York ("location mixup")

(why did MoMA’s version carry yet another title, “Sand Hills in Engadine”?...MoMA realized Mr. Feldhäusser had mistaken the hills for ones on an island near Denmark while the museum had mistaken them for hills in Switzerland. -WSJ)

for more examples of Jewish owned art passing under the Nazis through Ferdinand Möller Galerie, Berlin ==> Kurt Feldhäuser, Berlin ==> museums see Fischer, Max



Paul Gauguin

Faaturuma (Melancholic)

"The Wildenstein catalogue raisonné of 1964 tentatively suggests that a certain “Dr. Hahnloser, Zurich” owned Faaturuma between Vollard and Wolfensberger. The best-known collectors fitting this description are Arthur Hahnloser (1870-1936) and his brother Emil Hahnloser (1874-1940). However, neither began collecting works by Gauguin until after World War I. As Lukas Gloor notes, “an acquisition by Arthur Hahnloser of Faaturumain 1912 would…have been totally out of sync with Arthur’s collecting behaviour at that time” and “an acquisition by Emil Hahnloser of Faaturuma in 1912 would have been a totally isolated affair”; see e-mail from Lukas Gloor, Director, Sammlung E. G. Bührle, to Brigid Boyle, July 23, 2015, NAMA curatorial files. 

[5] The Wildenstein catalogue raisonné of 1964 claims that Justin K. Thannhauser owned Faaturuma between Wolfensberger and Stransky, but there is no documentary evidence to support this." - (source: Nelson-Atkins museum online provenance text (December 2017))


George Grosz


"Le Repos Dans Le Jardin Argenteuil" (Monet’s Garden at Argenteuil)

Claude Monet

Amedeo Modigliani

Pablo Picasso

Thomas Couture

Édouard Vuillard

François Boucher

El Greco

Egon Schiele

André Derain

Paul Klee

Jan van Goyen 




Camille Pissarro

Georges Braque

Wassily Kandinsky

Henri Matisse

Gustave Courbet

Gerard T. Borch

Albert Gleizes

Frans Hals


Corneille de Lyon

Lucien Adrion

Bernardo Bellotto

Carl Blechen

Van Gogh

Lovis Corinth

Carl Spitzweg


Giambattista Tiepolo

Cornelis Troost

Jean-Louis Forain

Constantin Guys

Adolph von Menzel

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

Émile Vernet-Lecomte

(update ongoing...)



Gustav Klimt Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (also called The Lady in Gold or The Woman in Gold) by  (Former owner, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer)


El Greco “Portrait of a Gentleman”  Seized by Nazis Returns to Owner’s Family in Artsbeat NYT. (Former owner, Julius Priester)


Edgar Degas “Landscape with Smokestacks” (1890) Landscape with Smokestacks – Friedrich Gutmann Heirs and Daniel Searle!prettyPhoto[pp_gal]/0/


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1917-18 painting ‘Sand Hills in Engadine aka ‘Sand Hills (By Grünau)’ Museum of Modern Art Returns Painting to Heirs of Man Who Fled Nazis, WSJ (Former owner, Max Fischer


Claude Monet "Monet’s Garden at Argenteuil" (Le Repos Dans Le Jardin Argenteuil) , Settlement Reached on Monet’s Garden at Argenteuil (Former owner, Maria Newman, widow of Henry P. Newman)


Paul Klee “Swamp Legend,” from 1919 After 26 Years, Munich Settles Case Over a Klee Looted by the Nazis in NYT (Former owner, Ms. Lissitzky-Küppers)


Jan van Goyen (1595 – 1656), River Landscape with a SwineherdA Goudstikker van Goyen in Gdańsk: A Case Study of Nazi-Looted Art in Poland (Former owner, Jacques Goustikker)


See also: