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INVENTORY OF THE G. CRAMER OUDE KUNST GALLERY RECORDS, 1901-1998, bulk 1938-1998
2001.M.5  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: G. Cramer Oude Kunst gallery records
    Date (inclusive): 1901-1998, bulk 1938-1998
    Number: 2001.M.5
    Creator/Collector: G. Cramer Oude Kunst
    Physical Description: 387.81 linear feet (930 boxes)
    Repository:
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The records of G. Cramer Oude Kunst in The Hague in the Netherlands document the gallery's business since the early 1920s until the late 1990s, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1938 to 1998. Of particular research value are Gustav Cramer's WWII correspondence and sales receipts regarding his dealings with Nazi agents for Adolf Hitler's museum in Linz. The archive may be the only uncensored dealer archive documenting the international art market in Nazi-occupied Europe. It comprises sixty years of the gallery's correspondence and financial records. Also present is a portion of the photographic archive, including circa 500 glass plate negatives, and sales catalogs. At this time, only the correspondence from 1936 through 1979 is processed and available for access. The remainder of the collection is still in process and will be made available for research upon completion.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is predominantly in Dutch; Flemish, with some material in English, French, or German.

    Biographical / Historical Note

    The gallery of the art dealers Gustav Cramer (1881-1961) and his son Hans Max Cramer (b. 1920) was one of the most renowned and influential galleries dealing in old master paintings during the 20th century in Europe. The gallery was founded in Kassel in the late 19th century by Gustav Cramer's grandfather, Max Cramer. In 1914 Gustav Cramer inherited the gallery. After World War I Gustav Cramer moved to Berlin where for many years he worked at the renowned Van Diemen gallery, in charge of the old masters section, or Alte Kunst. In 1933 he opened his own gallery in the Lennéstrasse in Berlin. In 1936, he was expelled from the official artists' organization Reichskammer der Bildenden Künste (Reich Chamber of Visual Art). In 1938, in order to escape the Nazi regime, the family moved to the Netherlands and opened the G. Cramer Oude Kunst gallery in Javastraat 38 in The Hague. Under the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands Gustav Cramer's son Hans Max Cramer became the official owner of the gallery. While the son officially represented the gallery, the father continued to be in charge of business. After Gustav Cramer's death in 1961, Hans Max Cramer continued his father's business.
    During World War II Gustav Cramer dealt on consignment in fine and decorative arts, mainly with German dealers in Berlin. He also engaged as an intermediary in transactions between Nazi agents collecting for Adolf Hitler's museum in Linz and Dutch collectors and dealers who wanted their transactions with the Nazis to remain anonymous. After the war he continued to sell decorative arts and old master paintings to a primarily Dutch and German clientele.
    Between 1954 and 1959, the gallery eliminated decorative arts from its stock in order to focus on old master paintings. Records from this period indicate that the firm also began to engage in business more regularly with numerous museums and private collectors in the United States. In 1960 Hans Max Cramer changed the business strategy again and began selling paintings almost exclusively on consignment, a concept for which he was criticized during the early 1960s. This approach turned out to be successful at a time when many private collections were being sold and dispersed. Cramer was able to make substantial business deals by representing some of the most important private collections in the Netherlands, including H.E. ten Cate, the Becker collection, the C.J.K. van Aalst collection, the Sidney van den Bergh collection, and numerous others. The pool of clientele expanded to include the world's most significant old master collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery, London, the National Gallery, Washington, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Toledo Art Museum, and the collections of L.H. Gilbert, Armand Hammer, Norton Simon, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, and many others.
    Hans Max Cramer studied at the prestigious Dutch school for art history, the Rijksinstituut voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie in The Hague. He was head of the study-room for Dutch and Flemish old masters, and wrote a great number of articles for the Dutch encyclopaedia Winkler Prins. During the 1980s he curated the exhibition Dutch Painting of the Golden Age from the Royal Picture Gallery, Mauritshuis and the Galleries of Hans M. Cramer and John Hoogsteder , held in The Hague in 1986. It was the first publicly sponsored exhibition curated by dealers.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    A portion of the collection is open for access by qualified researchers. The rest of the collection is in process and will be made available for research as processing and cataloging of each series are completed. At this time, access is available only to correspondence in Series I from 1936 through 1979.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    G. Cramer Oude Kunst gallery records, 1901-1998,(bulk 1938-1998), The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2001.M.5

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 2001.

    Processing History

    Alan Tomlinson processed the entire collection when it was acquired in 2001. In the fall of 2011 Isabella Zuralski began writing the finding aid and additional processing. She adapted the biographical/historical note from a text by Louis Marchesano and added information from online records of the Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen and the Frick Collection. As of December 2013 she completed Series I. Correspondence from 1936 through 1979. The remainder of the collection is still in process and will be made available for research upon completion.

    Related Archival Materials

    Interview with Hans Cramer, 2004 April 1-2. Special Collections Accession no. 2004.M.26.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    At this time, access is available only to correspondence in Series I from 1936 through 1979. The rest of the collection is being processed and will be made available for research in phases, as processing and cataloging of each series are completed.
    The archive of the gallery G. Cramer Oude Kunst in The Hague in the Netherlands is a rich resource for the study of the international market in old master paintings from the late 1930s through the end of the 20th century. It contains the gallery's complete business records from 1938 to 1998. Of particular research value is the documentation of the activities under Nazi occupation during WWII, especially correspondence and receipts regarding the gallery's dealings with Nazi agents for Adolf Hitler's museum in Linz. It may be the only uncensored dealer archive documenting the international art market in Nazi-occupied Europe.
    Series I consists of 345 boxes of correspondence with major art museums all over the world, but mainly in Europe, the United States, and Canada, numerous art dealers, private collectors, auction houses, conservators, editors of art magazines, and renowned art historians, and also with insurance agencies, transport firms, financial institutions, and lawyers. The letters regard predominantly acquisition, shipment, conservation, and sale of paintings. Frequently they provide commentary on current trends in the international art market, prices, aesthetics, and collecting. Also present are personal exchanges between various members of the Cramer family and friends, especially extensive from the late 1930s until the late 1940s. A portion of the correspondence in the postwar period, continuing well into the 1960s, deals with restitution issues and Nazi business dealings for the museum in Linz.
    Series II is the most extensive portion of the archive. It consists of 558 boxes housing the firm's complete financial records dating from the 1920s until 1998. Included is one stock book from 1901. The most substantial portion is comprised of account files and bank statements. Also present are tax records, sales reports, commission books, and insurance records.
    Series III consists of 29 boxes predominantly of photographs of paintings and decorative arts, and photographs of the gallery. Also present are photographs received from clients, and x-rays of paintings. This series comprises only a portion of the gallery's vast photo archive, most of which was donated to the Rijksdienst voor Kunsthistorische Dokumentatie (RKD).
    Series IV consists of 11 boxes with circa 500 glass plate negatives of art that passed through the gallery during the late 1950s and the 1960s.
    Series V. consists of 19 boxes of miscellaneous papers documenting the firm's various professional activities, including dealings with the Association of Art Dealers in the Netherlands, CINOA (International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers'), the Rotary Club, gallery sales catalogs, published catalogs of private collections, and press clippings.

    Arrangement

    Organized in five series: Series I. Correspondence, 1936-1998; Series II. Financial records, 1920-1998; Series III. Photographs, undated; Series IV. Glass plate negatives, undated; Series V. Miscellaneous papers, 1940-1998.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Cramer, Gustav, 1881-1961
    Cramer, Hans M.

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    G. Cramer Oude Kunst

    Subjects - Topics

    Art dealers--Correspondence
    Art historians--Correspondence
    Art treasures in war--Netherlands
    Art--Private collections
    National socialism and art--Netherlands
    World War, 1939-1945--Art and the war

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Black-and-white photographs
    Color photographs
    Gelatin dry plate negatives
    Photographs, Original
    Radiographs

    Contributors

    Allen Memorial Art Museum
    Bloch, Vitale
    Blunt, Anthony, 1907-1983
    Cate, H. E. ten,
    Cramer, Gustav, 1881-1961
    Cramer, Hans M.
    Cranbrook School (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    Dussler, Luitpold, 1895-1976
    Erasmus, Kurt, b. 1880
    Friedländer, Max J., 1867-1958
    Gelder, J. G. van (Jan Gerrit), 1903-1980
    Getty, J. Paul (Jean Paul), 1892-1976
    Gilbert, L. H.
    Grigaut, Paul L.
    Grote-Hasenbalg, Werner, 1888-
    Göpel, Erhard
    Haberstock, Karl, 1878-1956
    Hackenbroch, Yvonne
    Hannema, D, (Dirk), 1895-1984,
    Hartlaub, Gustav Friedrich, 1884-1963
    Held, Julius S , (Julius Samuel), 1905-2002
    Henschel , Hildegard, 1909-
    Henschel, Oscar Robert, 1899 - 1982
    Julius Böhler (Firm)
    Kamphuisen, P. W. , (Pieter Wilhelmus), 1897-1961
    Magriel, Paul David, 1906-
    Müller-Hofstede, Cornelius
    Parks, Robert O.
    Planiscig, Leo, 1887-1952
    Pope-Hennessy, John Wyndham, Sir, 1913-1994
    Posse, Hans, b. 1879
    Smith College. Museum of Art.
    Stechow, Wolfgang, 1896-1974
    Stichting Nederlands Kunstbezit.
    Thyssen-Bornemisza, Hans Heinrich, Baron
    Toledo Museum of Art
    Wittmann, Otto, 1911-2001