Provenance project: European paintingsPrint this set
By the Art Gallery of NSW
This is one of the provenance research projects currently being undertaken by the Art Gallery of NSW.
For more about the Gallery and provenance: artgallery.nsw.gov.au/provenance
The theft of artworks during the Third Reich and World War II in Europe is an issue to this day.
The Gallery has investigated all European paintings in our collection acquired after 1933 and created before 1945 that were or could have been in Europe during those years.
We have found no evidence that any of those paintings were looted or improperly acquired. From the entire collection, we have identified 42 paintings with incomplete or no provenance for this period. No claims have been made against any of these works.
In conjunction with other international and national museums, the Gallery is cooperating with the Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945 in London, which includes a link to these 42 works on its website.
Click on the image to see the collection record for the work, which provides more detailed information including all existing provenance information.
The Art Gallery of NSW welcomes any information regarding the provenance of works of art in our collection. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
AGNSW collection Jacopo Amigoni Bacchus and Ariadne circa 1740-circa 1742
The gap in the provenance of this Amigoni painting lasts from the early 19th century to its reappearance at respected London art dealer Agnew's in 1984. The first known owner was a Viennese man, Joseph Franz Anton Graf von Walburg-Zeil-Wurzbach, who first put the painting up for sale in London in 1806.
AGNSW collection Carlo Cignani, Carlo Cignani's workshop The five senses 1670s
This painting, attributed to the Bolognese Baroque painter Cignani, was donated to the Gallery in 1952 by a private collector, GA Laughton. We know little about it from the 1670s to the 1950s, although records of different versions of the work in collections from Paris to Rome to the Soviet Union have offered hopeful glimpses. As it was thought to be in Europe in the 1930s and 40s, the work remains the subject of ongoing research.
AGNSW collection Domenico Beccafumi Madonna and Child with infant John the Baptist circa 1542
AGNSW collection Georges Braque Landscape with houses Winter 1908-1909
This landscape by Braque, the co-founder of cubism, was first documented as belonging to the German collector Edwin Suermondt, who was known to have visited Gertrude Stein's famous salons and acquired paintings by Picasso in Paris. After some decades, sales records show it moving from the collection of George W and Emily Staempfli, New York, in the 1960s, when it was also listed in 'Cubism and twentieth century art' by Robert Rosenblum and lent to the 'Summer loan exhibition including the McIlhenny and Staempfli Collections' at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1968.
AGNSW collection Georges Braque Glass of absinthe 1911
Braque's 1911 painting has a fascinating early provenance. It was sold at a Kahnweiler sale at Hotel Drouot, Paris in 1921. Art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler was one of the first champions of cubism. The piece was purchased by the leader of the surrealists Andre Breton, before records become unclear in WWII.
AGNSW collection Paul Bril A wooded landscape with a bridge and sportsmen at the edge of the river 1590s
A label on the back of this Bril painting shows it belonging to an unidentified Italian collection in 1748. It came into the Rome collection of Otto E Messinger around 1910, then passed through Rudolph Lepke's Berlin auction rooms in 1918. 1932 saw the work at the Galerie Julius Stern, Dusseldorf, then in 1935 it was sold by Abels Brothers, Cologne. All that is known from then until 1997 was that it was in a private collection in Austria.
AGNSW collection Luca Cambiaso Holy Family with St John the Baptist circa 1578
AGNSW collection Jacques Blanchard Mars and the vestal virgin circa 1637-circa 1638
AGNSW collection Canaletto The Piazza San Marco, Venice 1742-1746
This 'venduta', or view, by Canaletto is recorded as being in the hands of the London frame dealer HJ Spiller before April 1928, presumably on its way to Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, who sold it to Leggatt Brothers in June 1928. The pre-1945 Leggatt Brothers business records were destroyed. The painting appeared again in Christie's London, in 1978 when it was listed for sale as the 'property of a gentleman'. Though that buyer is also unknown, when it was sold again, by Colnaghi New York in 1987, it was to James Fairfax. Fairfax lent the painting to the Gallery for nearly a decade from 1988, before donating it in 1996.
AGNSW collection Nicolò dell'Abate Portrait of a gentleman with a falcon circa 1548-circa 1550
AGNSW collection Jean Cazin The three stacks circa 1875?
AGNSW collection Charles Camoin Vase of flowers 20th century
AGNSW collection Raoul Dufy Yellow and red landscape: the beach at Sainte-Adresse circa 1908
Donations by private collectors, such as the one who offered this Dufy painting to the Gallery in 1982, can come with the stipulation that the donor remain anonymous. Though the work was well documented from 1957 on (before it entered into our donor's hands), this painting has no documentation for the period 1933-45.
AGNSW collection Prospero Fontana Deposition 1543, 1563
Though once in the Church of S Giacomo, Italy, Fontana's altarpiece is almost certainly the Deposition referred to by two early sources as for the altar of the Church of Corpus Domini, Bologna. The piece was owned by Conte Luigi Salina, Bologna, around 1841, but documentation only begins again over a century later with Whitfield Fine Art, London, who held the work in 1994, when it was purchased by the Gallery.
AGNSW collection André Derain Still life 1921-1922
AGNSW collection Henri Hayden The Guitarist 1919
This painting by Polish-French artist Henri Hayden once belonged to one of the most influential art collectors and dealers of the 20th century, Léonce Rosenberg. As an early advocate of cubism, Rosenberg was dealing in major pieces of modern art until his gallery was forced to close in 1941. It is known that his personal collection was looted by the Nazis.
AGNSW collection Willem Key Portrait of a Protestant minister of religion 1563
Key's portrait appears in catalogues dating back to 1910 and continuing to 1932, when it was listed by Brockwell as one of the pictures at Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey, in the collection of Sir Herbert Cook, Baronet (from his father Sir Frederick). The great collection of old masters was then passed to his son, the artist Sir Francis Cook. Between 1914 and 1934, it was catalogued as being by Antonio Moro and at other times by Frans Pourbus. From the mid 1930s its ownership is in doubt until acquired by the Netherlands Insurance Company, who donated it to the Gallery in 1965.
AGNSW collection Nicolas de Largillierre Portrait of an officer circa 1714-circa 1715
It is known that one owner of this Largillière portrait was the renowned collector Comtesse Niel, who had it in her possession in Paris by 1928. But then, perhaps because of the war, documentation is broken, and the painting is next recorded at a sale in Paris nearly 50 years later in 1976. A decade later it was sold through Colnaghi's, perhaps the oldest commercial art gallery in the world, before eventually being purchased in 1988 by James Fairfax, who donated the master work to the Gallery in 1995.
AGNSW collection Marie Laurencin Two women with musical instrument 1935
Laurencin's painting 'Two women with musical instrument' was one of three works by the French artist donated to the Gallery in 1987 as part of the bequest of Beatrice Moresby in memory of her mother Joan Morrisby. Previous records go back to a 1935 transaction at Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris, but nothing before then.
AGNSW collection Marie Laurencin Woman with bouquet 1924
Laurencin's 'Woman with bouquet' was one of three works by the French artist donated to the Gallery in 1987 as part of the bequest of Beatrice Moresby in memory of her mother Joan Morrisby. Previous records go back to a 1924 transaction at Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris, showing it was purchased directly from the artist by Rosenberg. It then went to a Mr Bentinck, London, in 1928 but its movements after are undocumented until coming to Moresby some time before 1987.
AGNSW collection Marie Laurencin The black gloves 1933
AGNSW collection Basile Lemeunier Portrait of Édouard Detaille 1891
Basile Lemeunier’s portrait is of his painting master - the famous military painter Édouard Detaille - whose Paris studio he entered on a scholarship. Lemeunier shows Detaille working on his own great work, Vive l’Empereur!, in the Gallery’s collection. Though little is known of the ownership of the painting, the two had become great friends and is assumed that Lemeunier gave the portrait to Detaille. It was exhibited twice in 1891, and was reviewed in various newspapers and art journals. The work was purchased by the Gallery from Galerie Talabardon et Gautier in 2014, having come onto the market for the first time in 2013.
AGNSW collection Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg A shipwreck off a rocky coast 1760s
AGNSW collection Stanislas Lepine Washerwomen circa 1875
AGNSW collection Albert Marquet The Pont Neuf in the snow late 1920s
The earliest record for Albert Marquet's late Fauve painting shows it in the Daily Telegraph Exhibition of French and British Modern Art held at David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, and Melbourne Town Hall, in 1939, the year it was purchased by the Gallery. The Gallery put it on display in an exhibition of French art in 1944. Though the work was purchased at the start of WWII, the period under review dates back to 1933, when this work would have been in Europe.
AGNSW collection The Master of the 1540s Portrait of a young woman 1541
AGNSW collection Anton Mauve Returning home: end of the day circa 1880-circa 1888
AGNSW collection Giovanni Battista Moroni Portrait of a young man circa 1565-1570
AGNSW collection Adolphe Monticelli Wood scene with riders circa 1875
AGNSW collection Jean-Marc Nattier Madame de La Porte 1754
Nattier's beautiful portrait has had some owners of note. By 1900 it was in the collection of Rodolphe Kann, Paris, whose collection after his death in 1905 was sold 'en bloc' to the Duveen Brothers dealership. The painting then entered into the collection of Sir Ernest Cassel, whose sister Wilhelmina was bequeathed all of Sir Cassel's furniture, glass, pictures, fixtures and fittings and several properties for use during her lifetime. All these items passed to her niece Edwina (Lady Louis) Mountbatten. There is a gap in the painting's provenance between 1925 and 1946, when the eminent dealer of French art Morton Lee sold it to a Frank Partridge. Wildenstein London had it for a decade before selling it to Abby Rockefeller Mauzé. William Bowmore added it to his remarkable collection in or before 1976 and gifted it to the Gallery in 1992.
AGNSW collection Jules Pascin Mother and child 1920s
AGNSW collection Giulio Cesare Procaccini The dead Christ on the cross with Saints Mary Magdalene, Augustine and Jerome, and angels circa 1618
AGNSW collection Frans Pourbus Portrait of a man circa 1610-1620
AGNSW collection Hubert Robert An extensive landscape near Paris 1781
AGNSW collection Aleksandr Rodchenko Composition 1918
AGNSW collection Matthias Stomer Mucius Scaevola in the presence of Lars Porsenna early 1640s
This painting by an ardent admirer of Caravaggio, Matthias Stomer, was once owned by Prince Branciforte di Mazzarino of Caltanissetta, Sicily, in the 17th century. After that its ownership was unknown until it was bought by Ettore Viancini in 1968, in Venice. Within two years, it was purchased by the Gallery.
AGNSW collection Maurice Utrillo Bridge and church 20th century
Utrillo's painting has a sales record dating to just prior to the outbreak of WWII, when Jean Racine of Paris sold the work to one Mrs Davis thorough Christie's London in May 1938. Half a century later, in 1987, the painting was donated to the Gallery as part of the bequest of Beatrice Moresby, London, through the National Art Collections Fund, in memory of her mother Joan Morrisby.
AGNSW collection Andrea Vaccaro Adoration of the Magi 1650s
AGNSW collection Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo The apotheosis of a pope and martyr circa 1780-1785
AGNSW collection Maurice de Vlaminck Italian village 20th century
AGNSW collection Maurice de Vlaminck Sailing boats at Chatou 1906
This lively painting was once owned by Ambroise Vollard, Paris, who in 1930 famously commissioned Picasso to produce the suite of 100 etchings that became known as the Vollard Suite. The story of the dispersal of Vollard's collection of over 10,000 artworks during WWII is a fascinating one. His Vlaminck was documented in 1943 as being at The Redfern Gallery, London, then subsequently in various prestigious collections, though dates are not confirmed until 1966. In 2006, the year it was purchased by the Gallery from Cyrille de Gunzburg, The Art Loss Register carried out a search and reported the painting not listed on its database.
AGNSW collection Maurice de Vlaminck The red roofs (Landscape) 1912