Conf. Report: Hugo Helbing (1863-1938), 27-28 April 2016, Munich

Hugo Helbing (1863-1938), Zentral Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich

The 7th Workshop on Provenance and Collection Research at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich was held in conjunction with an event commemorating the outstanding auctioneer Hugo Helbing (1863-1938) whose gallery, established in 1885, was the foremost auction house in the German-speaking countries between the late 19th century and 1938 when Helbing was murdered after the so-called „Kristallnacht“.

Helbing held more than 800 auctions at his headquarters in Munich and his branches in Frankfurt M. and Berlin, and even abroad – some major ones also in collaboration with Paul Cassirer (Berlin). Coinciding with the donation of a large set of annotated auction catalogues, the evening event on April 27th included talks by Meike Hopp (Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte) on Helbing’s life and achievement and by Johannes Nathan (Nathan Fine Art, Potsdam / Zürich) on questions of memory and oblivion. The keynote lecture was delivered by Thomas W. Gaehtgens (Getty Research Institute), giving an overview of the current art market and provenance research at the Getty Research Institute and looking particularly at the G. Cramer Gallery Archives recently acquired by the Getty. The half-day workshop on the morning of 28 April was devoted to commercial gallery archives, their accessibility, their preservation, and the problems of legal constraints in the publication of their content. Speakers were (in order of appearance) Christian Fuhrmeister (Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte), Uwe Schneede (Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste), Birgit Schwarz (University of Vienna) and Jeroen Euwe (Independent Historian, Utrecht). The workshop concluded with a panel discussion led by Konrad O. Bernheimer (Colnaghi, London), Thomas W. Gaehtgens (Getty Research Institute), Willi Korte (Independent Provenance Researcher, Washington), Sophie Lenski (University of Constance) and Michael Unger (State Archives of Bavaria, Munich); a brief review was published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung.