United against their will in ‘Double Portrait’ are both the lover and the wife of the then Städel director, Georg Swarzenski. Eighteen-year-old Carola Netter is depicted in an elegant black evening gown. Shortly after the painting was completed, she became assistant to the director. Swarzenski’s wife is holding a fan that actually belonged to her rival. The painting was not commissioned. Both women sat for it independently. It was the artist who pressed them into the narrow pictorial space. Yet they keep themselves to themselves and each woman gazes into a void.
A resident of Frankfurt from 1915 onwards, Max Beckmann taught a master class at the Städelschule from 1925 to 1933. It was in this period that he became one of Germany’s best-known and most successful painters. Frankfurt’s Städtische Galerie cultivated an especially intensive relationship to Beckmann. Between 1919 and 1933 the collection purchased altogether thirteen of his paintings. In 1924 it received this personal work from the artist as a gift.
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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