Political Motive, Directorial Access, and an Opportunity for the Art Trade:
How Two Paintings from the Munich Pinakothek Made their Way to the US
The art dealer firm of Julius Böhler, with offices and affiliated companies in Munich, Lucerne, Berlin, and New York, was a major art dealership in the German-speaking world in the first half of the twentieth century. Its business records, which have been the subject of extended research at the Munich Central Institute for Art History since 2019, demonstrate, among other trade activities, the close working relationship with the director of the Bavarian State Painting Collections Ernst Buchner (1892-1962). They cooperated in numerous exchanges due to the difficulty in obtaining foreign currency for sale transactions. Museum works, some from the Royal Bavarian Collections, thus entered the art trade and are today part of public collections abroad. The article examines the practice of exchanges driven partly by political motives during the National Socialist era and gives an insight into the close cooperation between museums and the art trade in the first decades of the twentieth century, and traces the path of two Old Masters to the present as examples of such transactions.
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