Catalogue for the exhibition “The Lives of Images. Provenances at the Museum Berggruen”

Museum Berggruen

Who owned the art before it came into the museum? Provenance research traces the movements of works of art, bringing astonishing details and unknown aspects of their individual histories to light. The object biographies of 135 paintings, drawings and sculptures by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse and Henri Laurens from Heinz Berggruen’s former private collection, which are now part of the Nationalgalerie’s collection, have been thoroughly documented for the first time and are discussed in richly illustrated contributions to the catalogue. Essays examine the history of the collection and the provenance research project investigating its works, National Socialist looting of art in occupied France after 1940, and Picasso’s and Klee’s popularisation in the USA.

How contemporary art addresses the subject of looted art is explored using as an example the work of Raphaël Denis, whose installation La loi normale des erreurs. Projet Picasso, version Berggruen is integrated into the exhibition. Over 20 object biographies of well-known works in the collection feature in-depth studies on aspects of their provenances. The texts introduce the individuals who at some point possessed the works of art as well as their (rightful) owners, while also illustrating the enormous variety and complexity of the origins of this outstanding collection. A catalogue of works, with extensive provenance information and a glossary of named individuals, rounds off the publication.

Biografien der Bilder. Provenienzen im Museum Berggruen“, edited by Petra Winter, Doris Kachel and Sven Haase, Deutscher Kunstverlag. 224 pages with 250 colour and 26 black-and-white illustrations, 21 × 27 cm, paperback (in German).

ISBN: 978-3-422-07482-8

Price: 29,00 €

The catalogue is available for purchase at the Buchhandlung Walther König (bookstore) and via the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin webshop.