Like the two tigers locked up in the cage, various circus characters are crowded into the confined space of a circus artist’s caravan. The sinister face at the centre bears Beckmann’s own features. Stretched out before him, by way of protection, is a fortune teller, whose gaze rests on a dwarfish figure holding a lantern. To the left, an acrobat attempts to flee through a rooflight into the black night. The animal tamer holds his whip upright in the pose of a guard. The scene mirrors the painter’s oppressive situation in the isolation of his Dutch exile.
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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