Provenance Research: Online Portal on Rudolf Mosse Collection / Acquisitions for Staatliche Museen zu Berlin from the collection

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In a database released today, the MARI online portal, research findings are collected and made accessible for researchers, museums, and the public.

No 086/2018 from May 02, 2018

The estate of German publisher, arts patron, and philanthropist Rudolf Mosse (1843-1920) included thousands of paintings, sculptures, craft objects, books, and antiques. Today, almost one hundred years after his death, we know more about the Rudolf Mosse art collection, thanks to the findings of an unprecedented and unique research project known as the Mosse Art Research Initiative (MARI). The findings were now published in a new online portal of Freie Universität Berlin.

Furthermore, a new media station in the Alte Nationalgalerie (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) reminds us of the Mosse Collection and the successful restitution to the Mosse heirs by Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK). In 2015, SPK was one of the first German institutions to restitute objects to the heirs of Felicia Lachmann-Mosse, the sole heir of Rudolf Mosse. In subsequent years, it has reacquired three of those nine restituted works for the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Hermann Parzinger, president of the SPK: "Having repurchased a Roman child’s sarcophagus from our own funds, we were also able to secure two important sculptures for the Alte Nationalgalerie: Susanna by Reinhold and a lion sculpture by August Gaul. We are grateful for the support of the Kulturstiftung der Länder and the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, which enabled these purchases. A media station next to the sculpture of Susanna describes the history of these objects." The child’s sarcophagus is currently on display in the Neues Museum, and the reclining lioness will soon be on display in the James Simon Gallery, the future entrance building for the Museum Island (Museumsinsel).

The SPK has partnered with Freie Universitat of Berlin on the MARI research project. The research undertaken since the spring of 2017 on the Mosse collection and its significance are collected and available on the MARI online portal ( mari-portal ), which is available to the public and presented here today. MARI’s primary goal is to reconstruct the art collection of Rudolf Mosse, and research the current locations of the artifacts that were taken by the National Socialists. Roger Strauch, head of the Mosse Art Restituion Project and president of the Mosse Foundation, said, "This collaboration is unprecedented and represents the generous spirit of the German government and the country’s cultural institutions and their leadership. We are also appreciative of the talented provenance community and its tenacity in this search for Mosse artifacts."

Dr. Meike Hoffmann, project coordinator of the Mosse Art Research Initiative, said, "So far we have begun research on 115 works, and have uncovered reliable information on 68 of them. For 30 works, the MARI online portal contains all the documentary information our research is based on." The provenance researchers of the MARI team, supported by students from Freie Universität Berlin, have been able to clearly identify 24 works and have located eight of them. These works include the painting Dichter Wald im Frühling by Emil Jakob Schindler. This painting is still in the Belvedere in Vienna, but has already been recommended for restitution on the basis of the MARI research by the Austrian Commission for Provenance Research. Other paintings include: Durch die Nacht zum Licht by Joseph Israels (Tel Aviv Museum, Israel), Blondes Bauernmädchen am Fenster by Anders Zorn (private property), and Schlittschuhläufer by Carl Melchers (Arkell Museum, Canajoharie, New York).

MARI is the first public-private partnership for provenance research and is considered a unique collaboration among the participants.