From Munich to Cologne: the provenance of a wall mirror from the collection of the persecuted art dealer Siegfried Lämmle at the Museum of Applied Arts Cologne[1]

by Anja Ebert

The ‘Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln’ (MAKK) is currently in the process of researching the provenance of its collections.[2] Research confirmed that a Dutch ebony and ‘verre eglomisée’ wall mirror formerly belonged to the Jewish art dealer Siegfried Lämmle (1863–1953) in Munich.[3]

The museum acquired the mirror in September 1938 from the art dealer Julius Böhler in Munich for 320 RM.[4] Böhler, however, had purchased the item on 28th/29th of June 1938 for 60 RM (lot 586) at a Weinmüller sale. The provenance of the mirror is documented in Böhler’s archive in Munich.[5] The Jewish art dealer Lämmle had consigned this item to the Weinmüller auction as part of his remaining stock.[6] Lämmle had long been subject to Nazi persecution: in summer 1935, Lämmle and other Jewish art dealers in Munich had been ordered by the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts to close their businesses.[7] Latest in fall 1936 Lämmle began to sell off his gallery stock and de-registered his business by the end of June 1937.

Siegfried Lämmle, his wife Betty and their son Walter fled to the US in 1938. The family re-opened an art business in Los Angeles. For them, emigration meant the loss of their German citizenship and their assets including the fact that they could no longer dispose of their bank accounts and had to pay discriminatory taxes. Furthermore parts of their stock as well as their private collection that they left behind in Germany were confiscated. After 1945, the Lämmle family received compensation for the loss of their confiscated property.[8] The Weinmüller auction in 1938 and other sales, however, were not part of the compensation.

Because of the wall mirror’s distinctive detail (‘verre eglomisée’) the provenance can be traced back to a Hugo Helbing sale in 1934, where Siegfried Lämmle bought this item. The consignor is noted as ‘Stadler’.[9] He is most probably the Munich sculptor Toni von Stadler (1888–1982), son of the landscape painter and co-founder of the ‘Munich Secession’ Anton von Stadler (1850–1917).[10]

Shortly before Lämmle left the country for the US due to Nazi persecution in 1938 he consigned the mirror for sale. The City of Cologne is in touch with the Lämmle heirs in order to achieve a just and fair solution.

Wall mirror, wooden frame, verre eglomisée, Netherlands, probably 19th c., parts fr. 17th c., Cologne, MAKK (photo: © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, Marion Mennicken)
Wall mirror, wooden frame, verre eglomisée, Netherlands, probably 19th c., parts fr. 17th c., Cologne, MAKK (photo: © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, Marion Mennicken)

[1] We would like to thank the Lämmle heirs for their kind permission to publish the object and its provenance. I am grateful to Britta Olényi von Husen for reviewing and translating the text.

[2] The project is funded by the German Lost Art Foundation. Dr. Iris Metje was responsible for the first phase of the project.

[3] On Lämmle, see Meike Hopp: Kunsthandel im Nationalsozialismus. Adolf Weinmüller in München und Wien. Cologne et al. 2012, pp. 169-175; Jan Schleusener, Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen in Bayern (ed.): Raub von Kulturgut. Der Zugriff des NS-Staats auf jüdischen Kunstbesitz in München und seine Nachgeschichte (Bayerische Studien zur Museumsgeschichte 3). Berlin 2016; Anja Ebert: Siegfried Lämmle – In die Emigration getrieben. In: Gekauft – Getauscht – Geraubt? Erwerbungen zwischen 1933 und 1945. Ed. Anne-Cathrin Schreck et al. Exhib. cat. Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg. Nuremberg 2017, pp. 160-179; Vanessa-Maria Voigt: Die Auflösung der Kunst und Antiquitätenhandlung Siegfried Lämmle. In: Ehem. Jüdischer Besitz. Ed. by Henning Rader, Vanessa-Maria Voigt. Exhib. cat. Münchener Stadtmuseum. Munich 2018, pp. 87-111.

[4] MAKK archive, inventory book (Inv.No. A 1420, Accession No. 1938/10).

[5] Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (ZI), Munich, Böhler archive, index card (M_38-0177). For the project see https://boehler.zikg.eu/ (14 March 2024).

[6] Sale Weinmüller, Munich, 28-29 June 1938, lot 586 (annotated copy of the catalogue: ZI, Munich). A further part of Lämmle’s stock was auctioned off at Weinmüller’s on 2-4 December 1937.

[7] On this and the following see the literature cited in note 3.

[8] See, among others, Staatsarchiv Munich, WB Ia 2265, 2969, 3415; Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Munich, LEA 22170 and the literature in note 3.

[9 Sale Hugo Helbing, Munich, 13-14 November 1934, lot 217, https://doi.org/10.11588/diglit.55549#0021 (14 March 2024).

[10] ‘Stadler’ repeatedly consigned lots for sale at Hugo Helbing, including objects from Anton von Stadler’s estate as well as works by artists from the family’s personal circle. See, among others, the Helbing auctions 24 October 1920, 27 October 1934, 13-14 November 1934, with consignments by ‘Stadler’ of works by Anton von Stadler, Otto Greiner, Max Klinger, Franz von Lenbach, Adolf von Hildebrand and East Asian art, among others. See on Anton and Toni von Stadler: Toni Stadler. ‘Ich finde nicht, ich suche.’ Leben, Werk, Wirkung. Ed. by Yvette Deseyve, Birk Ohnesorge. Exh. cat. Museum Moderner Kunst Wörlen, Passau. Berlin 2017; N.N.: Stadler, Toni (Anton), von. In: Thieme-Becker, vol. 31. Leipzig 1937 (reprint 1978), pp. 437-438, with reference to Anton von Stadler’s collection of, among other things, East Asian art. We would like to thank our colleagues from the Helbing Art Research Project, Potsdam, as well as the City Museum, Munich, the Lenbachhaus and the State Graphic Collection Munich.


Dr. Anja Ebert is currently working on the MAKK’s provenance research project.



Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
retour (2024, 10. April). From Munich to Cologne: the provenance of a wall mirror from the collection of the persecuted art dealer Siegfried Lämmle at the Museum of Applied Arts Cologne[1]. RETOUR. Abgerufen am 25. Mai 2024, von https://doi.org/10.58079/w6xv

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