With buildings that sway to the point of toppling, an unsettling cityscape seems to devour a small group of people. They are Beckmann’s friends Ugi and Friedel Battenberg on their way home with the painter himself, dressed in black, after a night of celebrating carnival. On Frankfurt’s Börneplatz they pass the synagogue with its onion-shaped dome, the windows brightly lit for morning prayer. The imagery conveys a sense of threat in the post-1914–18 reality, a period of existential crisis for Beckmann.
The Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main forms the prelude to a series of cityscapes Max Beckmann painted during his formative years in Frankfurt from 1915 to 1933. The depiction of the house of worship, which was torched on 10 November 1938 – a work of significance for the artist and the city alike – entered the Städel Museum collection in 1972. It had been purchased with the support of the City of Frankfurt and funding from private donors, who had contributed within the framework of a public fundraising campaign carried out on the streets, for example at Hauptwache.
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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