Portrait of a Roman Woman on a Flat Roof in Rome, Max Klinger
Max Klinger
Portrait of a Roman Woman on a Flat Roof in Rome
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Max Klinger

Portrait of a Roman Woman on a Flat Roof in Rome, 1891

182.0 x 182.0 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1926 as a gift from Walther Rathenau’s mother in memory of her son
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 6


About the Work

"A kind of portrait with the atmosphere of a late evening”, is what the German symbolist Max Klinger called this large-format painting, which was created on his studio roof terrace in Rome. Against the sky’s vastness, the woman in profile appears irritatingly austere. On the one hand, figure and background harmonise well; on the other, the space feels more like an alien backdrop than a real landscape. The painter’s outdoor studies of light and air are symbolic spaces that reflect human states of mind and later resonated with the Surrealists.

About the Acquisition

At the request of Mathilde Rathenau (1845-1926), a native of Frankfurt, a number of paintings were presented to the Städel in 1926 in memory of her son Walther Rathenau (1867-1922). Walther Rathenau, an industrialist and one of the co-founders of the German Democratic Party, was appointed foreign minister in January 1922. In June of that year he was assassinated in Berlin by the Organisation Consul, whose aim was to fight the Weimar Constitution.

Work Data

Basic Information

Portrait of a Roman Woman on a Flat Roof in Rome
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Monogrammiert und datiert unten links: MK 91 (MK ligiert)

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1926 as a gift from Walther Rathenau’s mother in memory of her son

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif


  • 61BB111(+55) anonymous historical person portrayed alone - BB - woman (+ full length portrait)
  • 31D15 adult woman
  • 31AA235(+3) sitting figure - AA - female human figure (+ sideview, profile)
  • 41A36 roof (of house or building)
  • 61E(ROMA) names of cities and villages (ROMA)
  • 41A721 chair
  • 25I12 prospect of city, town panorama, silhouette of city

Research and Discussion


Object History
Ernst Seeger, Berlin
Versteigerung durch das Auktionshaus Lepke, Berlin, 5. Dezember 1899 (Los-Nr. 28)
Walther Rathenau (1867-1922), Berlin
Nachlass Walther Rathenau, Berlin, 1922
Vermächtnis Mathilde Rathenau-Nachmann (1845-1926), Berlin zum Andenken an ihren Sohn Walther Rathenau (1867-1922) an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 1926.


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 type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

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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