Well-Advised by Friends: Philipp F. Reemtsma’s East-Asian Collection


  • Silke Reuther




Reemtsma, Asian art, Provenance


The subject of this article are the East Asian objects in the collection of Philipp Fürchtegott Reemtsma (1893–1959), a leading tobacco and cigarette manufacturer based in Hamburg. In 1968, to mark the tenth anniversary of Philipp F. Reemtsma’s death, his widow, Gertrud Reemtsma, produced a catalogue of her late husband’s collection of Chinese objects, which she presented to friends, advisers, and art dealers. Her correspondence shows how well-connected Reemtsma had been as a collector without ever cutting much of a public figure in the art world. As Reemtsma bequeathed a large part of his collection to the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in his hometown, the provenance of these objects subsequently came into focus in the course of the – by now – widespread research initiatives into the history and origins of collections held in public museums in Germany and elsewhere. Reemtsma’s estate is preserved at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research and presented a valuable resource, complemented by auction catalogues and other archival records. While provenance information on the objects now in the Hamburg museum is scarce, the investigation yielded at least some information on a very private collector’s sources, advisers and purchases.


Silke Reuther, Die Kunstsammlung Philipp F. Reemtsma Herkunft und Geschichte; Berlin 2006

Sabine Schulze and Silke Reuther, Raubkunst? Provenienzforschung zu den Sammlungen des Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg 2014




How to Cite

Reuther, S. (2018). Well-Advised by Friends: Philipp F. Reemtsma’s East-Asian Collection. Journal for Art Market Studies, 2(3). https://doi.org/10.23690/jams.v2i3.74