In the Absence of Foreign Currency: The Acquisition of "Samson Blinded" by Lovis Corinth
From the Central Archive of the Staatliche Museen Berlin
Based on sources in the Berlin state museums’ Central Archive, the article describes the complex route to acquisition of a striking painting which had been on loan to the National Gallery in East Berlin since 1958. It was a focal point of the permanent exhibition and visitors perceived it as a permanent fixture of the collection. The acquisition was compounded by the Cold War and the financial difficulties of an East German institution needing to settle with a London-based vendor in hard currency. The tortuous process took almost three decades and is documented in unusual detail in the museum archive. With hindsight, the museum took a justifiable decision in favour of unprecedented steps to acquire a highlight of its collection.