"Dr. Grambs owns [...] a collection of paintings, engravings and hand drawings that exceeds all expectations. The decisive knowledge of the owner helps the visitor to quick enlightenment and a thorough insight." This is how Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described the collection of the lawyer Johann Georg Grambs (1756−1817). The lawyer had acquired his art possessions − mainly Dutch and German artists of the 17th and 18th centuries − at auctions in Frankfurt. Grambs was one of Städel's appointed administrators of the institute. The administration of the Städel Foundation had been entrusted to an independent body of five Frankfurt citizens. And like the founder himself, Grambs also left his art collection to the museum.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
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