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Works by Adolph Menzel Recovered: The Couple in the Train Compartment Reunited

22.03.2019
Kupferstichkabinett

Thanks to the recovery of a work that had been presumed lost, a couple of Menzels have been reunited at the Kupferstichkabinett after 74 years apart.

After 74 years, the Kupferstichkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has managed to make a sensational recovery. Two sheets by Adolph Menzel, which had been written off as lost ever since they were placed in storage during the Second World War, are making a return. The works in question are "Schutzmann im Winter" (Constable in Winter) and "Dame im Coupé" (Lady in the Train Compartment). The latter can now finally re-join "Herr im Coupé" (Gentleman in the Train Compartment), which also forms part of the Kupferstichkabinett’s collection.    

First signs of life

The recovery was made possible by the art consultant Sascha Tyrra. In 2014, the first signs that Schutzmann and Dame had not been destroyed came to light. Tyrra had been tasked by a client with selling the two works, and established contact with the Kupferstichkabinett. Discussion resumed in 2018 in the lead-up to the exhibition "Menzel: Paintings on Paper", and with this, the groundwork was laid for the recovery of the work. Since January 2019, both Menzel masterpieces have been back at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Kupferstichkabinett. 

The picture couple in the exhibitions

Given their art-historical significance and their collection history, "Dame im Coupé" and "Schutzmann im Winter" are absolute highlights. Menzel sketched the two pictures "Dame im Coupé" and "Herr im Coupé" in 1859 in pastel. During this time, he was turning his eye more and more to painting. This use of pastels marks a phase in which the graphic artist was opening himself up to colour. 

Beginning in April, both works can be admired in an exhibition of the Kupferstichkabinett’s newly acquired works – "In the Best of Company" – and from September, in the major exhibition "Menzel: Paintings on Paper".