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Arntz (Wilhelm) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Separated Material
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of the Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Publication Rights

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections
    Title: Wilhelm Arntz papers
    Creator: Arntz, Wilhelm F.
    Identifier/Call Number: 840001
    Physical Description: 159 Linear Feet(295 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1898-1986
    Abstract: Comprehensive research collection on twentieth century art, especially German Expressionism, compiled by the art expert Wilhelm Friedrich Arntz. A vast portion of the collection consists of research files on individual artists. Of particular interest are files concerning the so-called degenerate art campaign by the Nazis and the recovery of confiscated artwork after World War II. Extensive material documents Arntz's professional activities.
    Physical Location: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language of Material: German
    Language of Material: Collection material is in German.


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Preferred Citation

    Wilhelm Arntz papers, 1896-1986, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 840001.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was acquired in 1985.

    Processing History

    The collection was first processed in 1986-1987 by Ute Wachsmann-Linnan who also wrote an inventory. Isabella Zuralski reprocessed the collection in 2007-2008 and completed the finding aid in 2009.

    Separated Material

    Photographs and other images of artworks collected by Arntz were initially cataloged separately. They are now merged with the archival files and comprise Series V. of this finding aid. The bibliographic record for this portion of the Arntz papers in the Getty online catalog has the acc. no. 87.P.1.
    Art-related printed ephemera collected by Arntz are currently in process and will be available upon completion of an online finding aid (acc. no. 2002.M.13).
    Periodicals and monographs received with the Arntz collection were transferred to the Getty Research Library, and are available for research.
    Eight catalogs of auctions held at Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, with duplicates, and the catalog of an auction by R.N. Ketterer held in Lugano have been transferred to the Getty Research Library, and are available for research.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Wilhelm Friedrich Arntz (1903-1985) was a German lawyer, art expert and independent researcher of twentieth century art. He was also one of the early collectors of German Expressionism. Parallel to collecting artworks, he aquired publications on 20th century art and compiled a wealth of archival material, including newspaper clippings, correspondence of artists, art historians and dealers, and ephemeral items such as invitations to exhibition openings.
    Trained as a lawyer, Arntz began his professional career as political editor for the newspaper Frankurter Generalanzeiger, but he lost his job in 1933 after the Nazis came to power. He was hired as a foreign correspondent for the HUCK-Verband, a major German newspaper trust in London in the 1930s.
    Shortly after the war Arntz worked as head of the department of cultural affaires (Kulturreferat) in Stuttgart. In 1947, together with Robert Norman Ketterer he founded the auction house Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett where he worked until 1955-1956 as a consultant and expert on 20th century art. Subsequently, he worked until 1978 for the auction house Kunsthaus Lempertz in Cologne. At the same time, he served as an expert on forgery in various legal proceedings, such as the Malskat-case in 1954-1955 in Lübeck or the civil action on a false Lautrec attribution in Munich in 1970. As a lawyer he was also involved in cases concerning property law and restitution of artwork confiscated by the Nazis, as well as insurance, tax matters, copyright law, and protection of cultural patrimony.
    During World War II, Arntz lost most of his library and archive, the greater portion of which he was able to rebuild after 1945. He enlarged his collection with copies or transcripts of official statements, reports and letters by high ranking National Socialists and post-war authorities on the so-called degenerate art campaign.
    Arntz's collection, known as the Kunstarchiv Arntz, kept in his private home in Haag, in Bavaria, served as the source of information for his various professional activities. With certain limitations, he made his library and archival material available to the public and allowed students and colleagues to conduct research in his home.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The Wilhelm Arntz papers constitute a comprehensive research archive on twentieth-century art compiled by the German lawyer, art expert and archivist Wilhelm Friedrich Arntz (1903-1985).
    The majority of the collection consists of research files on individual artists. More then 80 linear feet of material, the bulk dating from the late 1940s to the mid 1980s, details individual artworks, auction sales, bibliograhical references, and press coverage of a vast number of artists, predominantly German Expressionists, also numerous emerging and established contemporary artists from Western and Eastern European countries, the United States, and other countries.
    The main portion consists of catalog sheets for artworks by individual artists. In many cases, the collection of sheets, in extent and bibliographic detail, amounts to a catalogue raisonée. Another large group of material comprises press articles on current exhibitions, publications, auction sales, and events concerning individual artists.
    A portion of the archive documents Arntz's interest in tracing the Nazi government's campaign against modernist art and the efforts to recover looted artworks after the war. Included are letters from artists, correspondence between Nazi officials and their collaborators, numerous lists of confiscated artworks, as well as documents issued by government authorities in postwar Germany. Most documents are typed transcripts or photographs of original documents; only a few original documents are present. Also included are photographs from the 1937 Entartete Kunst exhibition in Munich.
    The research files are augmented by a vast number of images of artworks collected by Arntz in his effort to compile a comprehensive visual documentation of artwork by 20th-century artists. The series is comprised of circa 70 linear feet of photographs, illustrated printed matter, magazine clippings, and also numerous color transparencies and negatives, and a few glass negatives.
    Circa five linear feet of material document Arntz's professional activities. Correspondence with artists, scholars, collectors, and publishing houses details his involvement as a consultant and expert on 20th century art. Numerous files provide insight into his expertise and engagement as a lawyer in cases concerning forgeries, copyright, tax, and insurance.
    Since the original arrangement of the material is not known, this finding aid follows largely the order established when the collection was first processed in 1986-1987.


    Organized in five series:Series I. Correspondence, 1912-1985Series II. Expertise and appraisal, 1913-1984Series III. Publications by Arntz, 1934-1983Series IV. Research files, 1896-1986Series V. Images of artworks, undated.

    Publication Rights

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Art treasures in war -- Germany
    Art thefts -- Germany
    National socialism and art
    Art thefts -- France
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Confiscations and contributions -- Germany
    Art treasures in war -- France
    Lost works of art -- Germany
    Lost works of art -- France
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Confiscations and contributions -- France
    Art museums -- Destruction and pillage -- Germany
    Art museums -- Destruction and pillage -- France
    Legal documents
    Germany -- Cultural policy -- History -- 20th century
    Art and state -- Germany
    Art insurance -- Germany
    Art, Modern -- 20th century
    Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Collectors and collecting -- Germany
    Avant-garde (Aesthetics)
    Art -- Private collections -- Germany
    Art -- Forgeries
    Artists -- Germany -- Correspondence
    Entartete Kunst
    Color photographs
    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Dye diffusion transfer prints
    Expressionism (Art)
    Black-and-white prints (photographs)
    Art historians -- Archives
    Marc, Franz, 1880-1916
    Macke, August, 1887-1914
    Mueller, Otto, 1874-1930
    Modigliani, Amedeo, 1884-1920
    Nolde, Emil, 1867-1956
    Müller-Wulckow, Walter, 1886-1964
    Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973
    Pechstein, Max, 1881-1955
    Rohlfs, Christian, 1849-1938
    Reutti, Kurt
    Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl, 1884-1976
    Schlemmer, Oskar, 1888-1943
    Strauss, Ottmar
    Schwitters, Kurt, 1887-1948
    Weber, Andreas Paul, 1893-1980
    Warhol, Andy, 1928-1987
    Bill, Max, 1908-1994
    Beckmann, Max, 1884-1950
    Baumeister, Willi, 1889-1955
    Barlach, Ernst, 1870-1938
    Bünemann, Hermann
    Borst, Hugo, 1881-1967
    Bonnard, Pierre, 1867-1947
    Chillida, Eduardo, 1924-2002
    Chagall, Marc, 1887-1985
    Grieshaber, Helmut A. P., 1909-1981
    Dalí, Salvador, 1904-1989
    Deutsche Zentralverwaltung für Volksbildung in der Sowjetischen Besatzungszone
    Hofer, Carl, 1878-1955
    Hundertwasser, Friedensreich, 1928-2000
    Hajek, Otto Herbert, 1927-2005
    Heckel, Erich, 1883-1970
    Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944
    Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig, 1880-1938
    Janssen, Horst, 1929-1995
    Jawlensky, Alexej von, 1864-1941
    Kubin, Alfred, 1877-1959
    Liebermann, Max, 1847-1935
    Klee, Paul, 1879-1940
    Kokoschka, Oskar, 1886-1980
    Verlag Das Beste GmbH
    Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett
    Privatinitiative Kunst
    Kunsthaus Lempertz
    Kommission zur Verwertung der eingezogenen Produkte entarteter Kunst
    Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft
    Galerie Fischer
    Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg für die Besetzten Gebiete
    Deutscher Werkbund
    Beuys, Joseph
    Kunstarchiv Arntz