Visiting Leipzig’s Museum der bildenden Künste recently, along with Max Klinger’s glove serenade I also saw the first signs of a large-scale project taking place throughout Germany and beyond to honour an undervalued champion of Modernism, particularly Expressionism and Cubism.
Said figure is art dealer Alfred Flechtheim; you may recall that back in May we looked at portraits of him which reflected the huge range of avant-garde styles of which he was a proponent. Flechtheim was a vital catalyst who seemed to know everybody in the early 20th century art world. His galleries were social hubs and he brought the vanguard to an even broader audience with Der Querschnitt, a crucial journal of between-the-wars arts and letters. But being both Jewish and a promoter of “degenerate” modern art Flechtheim was doubly despised by the Nazis and he left shortly after their rise to power in 1933, and died in London in 1937.
Some of Germany’s most prestigious public collections are taking part in this project, including Frankfurt’s Städel and Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne (although curiously none in Berlin, the site of Flechtheim’s greatest success). Starting this month and continuing into the new year, participating institutions will be highlighting works whose provenance includes Flechtheim’s galleries or personal collection.
The name of the project – AlfredFlechtheim.com – not only directs you to a website which provides essential background information, the “.com” also references Flechtheim’s role as a commercial art dealer. And cleverly the works associated with Flechtheim – often in permanent collections – are identified with red labels which evoke the “sold” stickers used in galleries. One such featured work in Leipzig’s collection is the sculpture below by Renée Sintenis.
You can find out more at – naturally – AlfredFlechtheim.com.
Update (6 Nov): Works which once belonged to Alfred Flechtheim are evidently part of the recent spectacular discovery of looted art.