At the beginning of 1910, Georg Swarzenski, the Städel’s director at the time, suggested to Max Liebermann that he should paint a portrait of the then Mayor of Frankfurt, Franz Adickes (1846‒1915), who was a committed supporter of the arts and sciences. He was, for instance, significantly involved in the foundation of the Städtische Galerie, which was affiliated with the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in 1906 and was focused primarily on contemporary art. Originally, Swarzenski had intended to purchase two other works by the Berlin artist. However, his plan failed, on account of the Städtische Sammlung Purchasing Committee preferring “tamer” works. The portrait painted in Liebermann’s studio arrived in Frankfurt at the end of 1910, but it was brought back to Berlin for an exhibition at the beginning of 1911. It was probably then that Liebermann added the date “1911”.
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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