The River Scheldt in Antwerp is 400 metres wide. A river like that rarely freezes over - except during the mid-sixteenth century, when the so-called Little Ice Age was at its zenith. Lucas van Valckenborch has captured the atmosphere of a cold winter's day with great skill. Dark snow clouds alternate with blue sky, and the sun, lying low on the horizon, casts long shadows. The peasants have lit a fire on the embankment. Day labourers gathering wood and elegant city dwellers watch the bustle on the ice with amusement.
"Dr. Grambs also owns a collection of paintings, copperplate engravings and drawings by hand which exceeds all expectations. The definitive knowledge of the owner helps the visitor to gain rapid enlightenment and thorough understanding." That was how Goethe described the Frankfurt collection of the lawyer Johann Georg Grambs (1756-1817). It included Netherlandish Baroque artists and contemporary master painters from Frankfurt. Grambs was one of the administrators of the museum appointed by Städel. Like the donor, he, too, bequeathed his art collection to the institute.
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.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .
Art-technology findings and/or documentation regarding conservation and restoration are available for this work. If interested, please contact .