Scope and Content Note
Between 1938 and 1949, Gustav Cramer's most extensive and continuous correspondence
is with the German art dealers Karl Haberstock, Hans Hartig, Hans W. Lange, and Hans
Rudolph, all in Berlin. Among other art dealers with whom Cramer corresponds
continuously are Arthur Abt in Amsterdam, Emil Backhaus in Hannover, Barci Frères in
Paris, Curt Bloch in Enschede, Julius Böhler in Munich, J.H. Borghouts in Amsterdam,
Alfred Brack in Amsterdam, Brandl in Berlin, Joseph Fach in Frankfurt am Main,
Gerstenberger in Chemnitz, Pierre Landry in Paris, Hermann Range in Berlin, and Paul
Margolis and Wildenstein & Co. in Paris. After the war Cramer continued to
correspond extensively with Abt, Backhaus, Curt and Vitale Bloch, Haberstock, Hartig,
and Rudolph. New, and often continuous, correspondence throughout the subsequent
decades begins with the art dealers Alex and Richard Ball, Edgar Ball in Brussels,
H.E. Backer in London, Delomosne & Son in London, Lucien Delplace in Brussels,
W.F. Henry in Utrecht, August Laube in Zurich, the gallery Kunstsalon Abels in
Cologne, and the antiquarian book dealer Heinrich Eisemann in London. The most
extensive correspondence, continuing well into the 1960s, begins with the art dealer
and collector Heinz Steinmeyer.
Among art collectors, continously and often extensively, represented are Gustav Falck
in Copenhagen, Ernst Proehl in Amsterdam, Erwin Samuel Simon in Enschede, Heinz
Steinmeyer in Berlin, the architect and art collector Felix Tikotin, and Carl Emil
Wessel in Hamburg. In 1948 Cramer corresponded with the art collector Dirk Hannema,
who during the war years collaborated with the German occupiers of the Netherlands,
and in 1940 was instrumental in the sale to the Nazis of part of the collection of
Franz Koenigs. There are carbon copies of letters sent by Gustav Cramer in 1944 to the
Dutch art collector, but also World War II war criminal, Pieter Nikolaas Menten.
During the war Cramer corresponded with several art historians, including Vitale
Bloch, Kurt Erasmus, and Max J. Friedländer. There is also a 1938 letter from Gustav
Cramer to Lionello Venturi. After the war Cramer began corresponding with Anthony
Blunt at the Courtauld Institute of Art, John Pope Hennessy at the Victoria and Albert
Museum, Leo Planiscig in Florence, Jan Gerrit van Gelder in Utrecht, and Gustav
Among financial institutions and other firms Cramer's most extensive and continuous
correspondence during and after the war was with the Nederlandisch Clearinginstituut,
the Accountskantoor Nassette & Klomp, the Departement van Handel, Nijverheid en
Scheepvaart Crisis Uitvoer Bureau, J. Schülein at the bank Gebrüder Teixeira de Mattos
in Amsterdam, the N.V. Koninklijke Meubeltransport-Maatschappoj De Gruijter, G. Cleve
& Zonen Internationale Expediteurs in Rotterdam, the shipping firm Neumann &
Vettin, and the insurance agency De Voss & Zoon.
Extensive and continuous is the correspondence with the financial advisor Siegfried
Reif in Berlin, A.H.M. Stibbe-Meijll, wife of the Dutch banker Theodor Gerhard Henri
Stibbe, and the lawyers Karl Hadding and W.M. Weitjens. Especially extensive is the
1949 correspondence with Reif, which includes several lists of artwork Cramer received
in commission from Hans Hartig in 1938.
During and after the war Cramer corresponded with the editors of the
Burlington Magazine, and after the war with
and the Art Foundation in New York, and especially extensively with
in Munich. He also began to correspond with art museums, including
the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Hessisches Landesmuseum, National Gallery of Art in
Washington DC, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in
Birmingham, England. Extensive exchange took place in 1949 and 1950 with the
conservator Josef Leiss at the Landesmuseum in Kassel.
The war years correspondence frequently concerns art trade with Nazi agents. In 1943
Cramer corresponded extensively with Erhard Göpel, the German art historian and under
the Nazi regime Reichskommissar für die besetzten niederländischen Gebiete, Referat
Sonderfragen, and with Walter Andreas Hofer at Stabsamt des Reichsmarschalls Herman
Göring. Göpel is often mentioned within the correspondence with the director of the
Staatliche Gemäldegalerie Dresden, Hans Posse, who from 1939, was in charge of
building Adolf Hitler's art collection in Linz, Austria, the Sonderauftrag Linz. The
names of Göpel, Haberstock, and Böhler are also mentioned within the 1943
correspondence with Johann E. Westerbeek, Directeur Trust- en Administratie Mij N.V.
in Amsterdam. The exchange with the Gesandtschaftsrat Wilhelm F. Wickel concerns sales
of artwork to the German government and includes a mention of the art dealer and
auctioneer Hans W. Lange in Berlin. Selling artworks from undisclosed sellers to Hans
Posse is the topic of the 1940 and 1941 exchange between Gustav Cramer and Erwin
Samuel Simon, an art collector from Berlin, who moved to the Netherlands in 1938
trying to escape the Nazi regime. There is also an extensive exchange with Robert
Schmidt at the Staatliche Museen in Berlin, and Albert Boeckler at the Staatliche
Museen Kunstbibliothek in Berlin.
In connection with the antisemitic policies of the Nazi regime, of particular
interest is Gustav Cramer's 1939 exchange with Theodore Delville in Kassel, Bruno
Dlabal in Kassel, Hilde Fisher in Chile, and Paul and Ernst Glaser in Berlin, as it
includes information regarding Gustav and Hugo Cramer's involvement in helping Jews to
escape Nazi Germany. There is also a 1939 exchange with the Finanzamt Moabit in Berlin
regarding Gustav Cramer's atonement payment for Jews (Judenvermögensabgabe).
Afer the war Cramer corresponded with the Dutch organization Stichting Nederlandsch
Kunstbezit, which was assigned the task of recuperating artworks looted by the Nazis
from abroad, primarily from Germany.
Beginning in 1946 Cramer corresponded continuously with Hildegard Henschel. There is
also an exchange with Oskar Robert Henschel and Reinhard Henschel, the administrator
of the Henschel estate, with Wilhelm Striebig, and K.O. Gernandt, the curator of the
Oskar R. Henschel collection, about looting of the Henschel collection by the Nazis
and the recovery efforts after the war.
In 1947 Cramer corresponded extensively with the lawyer C. Reinders Folmer in
Amsterdam regarding artwork from the collection of J. Hartog of New York and the
business dealings of [?] Schoenlicht.
Of particular interest are letters to Gustav Cramer from the German author and
publisher Bernhard Mehrens, who in 1949 writes about the German society's reaction and
coming to terms with the recent Nazi past and World War II atrocities.
Immediately after the war the most extensive correspondence is the personal exchange
between Gustav Cramer and his wife Gertrud Reisewitz Cramer with several members of
the Cramer and the Reisewitz families, and with close friends in Germany, Italy,
United States, Brasil, and Chile, but predominantly with Gustav's brother Hugo Cramer
in New York. In their letters, Gustav and Hugo Cramer discuss current business
dealings and trends in the art trade on both sides of the Atlantic. The personal
exchange with family and friends concerns mainly economic hardships. A few personal
photographs are included. Also present is extensive personal correspondence with
Friede Burhenne and concerns Gustav Cramer's involvement in arranging immigration visa
and passage to Brasil for the German couple Frieda and Karl Burhenne. Continued, and
often extensive, is personal correspondence with Olga Wurzburger in New York, and with
Hilgedard Henry, and Lotte Clos.
Arranged chronologically by year and within each year alphabetically by name of