By making pictures in the style of 17th-century Dutch art, painters such as Christian Georg Schütz and Johann Georg Trautmann catered to the taste of bourgeois collectors in 18th-century Frankfurt. Whereas Trautmann was successful as a Rembrandt imitator, Schütz specialized in landscapes in the manner of the Dutch painter Herman Saftleven. They created some of their works as imaginary companion pieces to certain stand-alone Dutch paintings, which were expensive and not easy to come by on the art market. When hung in the collectors’ homes, the Dutch originals and the contemporary imitations were often installed side by side as pendants. The knowing acquisition of these works appealed to Johann Friedrich Städel because it allowed him to achieve greater stylistic diversity in his own collection.
Like the Dutch painters of the seventeenth century who were so popular among the Frankfurt collectors, all the Frankfurt painters of the eighteenth century were specialists in specific fields of art. While Christian Georg Schütz recorded expansive landscapes from the region, Justus Juncker had a preference for still lifes and Johann Conrad Seekatz was an expert in the genre of painting children. During their lifetime, all these painters were represented in the important Frankfurt private collections, from that of Johann Caspar Goethe, the father of the poet Johann Wolfgang, to that of the banker and merchant Johann Friedrich Städel (1728-1816). In his foundation letter compiled in 1815, Städel laid the basis for the museum as it continues to exist today and bequeathed not only his house on Rossmarkt and his fortune, but also his collection of paintings.
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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