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Four Works from the Loewe Collection Presumed Lost Returned to the Alte Nationalgalerie

11.10.2019
Alte Nationalgalerie

Four works of art, long presumed lost, could recently be recovered for the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. They were part of a collection of 219 miniatures that Albert Loewe, a Berlin Stadtrat (city councillor), had bequeathed to the Alte Nationalgalerie in 1897.

Recovery of Four Miniatures from the Loewe Collection

The returned works:

  • Philipp Arons, Dame mit rotem Kopftuch (Lady with a red headscarf)
  • Karl Karger, Amor (Cupid)
  • Johan Mari Ten Kate, Holländisches Mädchen eine Treppe herunterschreitend (Dutch girl descending a staircase)
  • Georg Engelhardt, Gebirgsbach in felsigem von Tannen umsäumten Bett (Mountain stream in a rocky bed edged by firs)

Hermann Parzinger, president of the SPK (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), stated: “I thank the previous owner that he quickly agreed to return the works after he learned of their history. Numerous works from our collections are still listed as lost. Many were destroyed in the Second World War. Others, as in this case, re-emerge on the art market. We are very pleased about such recoveries because they close gaps in the collection and also restore contextual connections.”

Ralph Gleis, head of the Alte Nationalgalerie, noted: “We are grateful and glad that this recovery has succeeded in bringing the Loewe Collection one step closer to completion. Previous research and knowledge of this inventory have greatly paid off.”

Loewe and His Wife Supported Contemporary Art of Their Times

Albert Friedrich Theodor Loewe, whose responsibilities included overseeing the city’s art and cultural affairs, was, together with his wife Anna Dorothea, also a private patron of contemporary artists. During just about 20 years, between 1865 and 1885, the couple commissioned numerous miniature oil paintings from the most well-known German and international painters. The majority of the artists came from Berlin, Munich and Düsseldorf, including Adolph von Menzel, Leon Pohle, Franz Skarbina, Carl Steffeck, Lawrence Alma Tadema and Anton von Werner.

The couple had the works framed in filigree silver, partially gilded hat clasps that were reworked for this purpose. The small images executed in oil on metal, artist’s board, wood or ivory reflect middle-class tastes of the times. Among the subjects are scenes from classical mythology, genre motifs, portrait heads of women and children, and depictions of animals and landscapes. Visitors could admire nine panels, each filled with 23–25 miniatures, in the Loewe’s apartment at Victoriastraße 13.