Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Wilhelm Arntz papers
Date (inclusive): 1898-1986
Arntz, Wilhelm F.
159.0 linear feet
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
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 the
World war II. Extensive material documents Arntz's professional activities.
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Language: Collection material is in
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.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Wilhelm Arntz papers, 1896-1986, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 840001
The collection was acquired in 1985.
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.
Photographs from the Arntz collection that complement the archival research files are currently in process and will be available
upon completion of an online finding aid (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
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.
Scope and Content of 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, 1912-1985
Series II. Expertise and appraisal, 1913-1984
Series III. Publications by Arntz, 1934-1983
Series IV. Research files, 1896-1986
Series V. Images of artworks, undated.
Subjects - Names
Barlach, Ernst, 1870-1938
Baumeister, Willi , 1889-1955
Beckmann, Max, 1884-1950
Bill, Max, 1908-1994
Bonnard, Pierre, 1867-1947
Borst, Hugo, 1881-1967
Bünemann, Hermann, 1895-
Chagall, Marc, 1887-1985
Chillida, Eduardo, 1924-2002
Dalì , Salvador, 1904-1989
Grieshaber, Helmut A. P., 1909-1981
Hajek, Otto Herbert, 1927-2005
Heckel, Erich, 1883-1970
Hofer, Carl, 1878-1955
Janssen, Horst, 1929-1995
Jawlensky, Alexej von, 1864-1941
Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944
Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig, 1880-1938
Klee, Paul, 1879-1940
Kokoschka, Oskar , 1886-1980
Kubin, Alfred, 1877-1959
Liebermann, Max, 1847-1935
Macke, August, 1887-1914
Marc, Franz, 1880-1916
Modigliani, Amedeo, 1884-1920
Mueller, Otto, 1874-1930
Müller-Wulckow, Walter, 1886-1964
Nolde, Emil, 1867-1956
Pechstein, Max, 1881-1955
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973
Rohlfs, Christian, 1849-1938
Schlemmer, Oskar, 1888-1943
Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl, 1884-1976
Schwitters, Kurt, 1887-1948
Warhol, Andy, 1928-1987
Weber, Andreas Paul, 1893-1980
Subjects - Corporate Bodies
Deutsche Zentralverwaltung für Volksbildung in der Sowjetischen Besatzungszone
Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg für die Besetzten Gebiete
Ernst Barlach Gesellschaft
Kommission zur Verwertung der eingezogenen Produkte entarteter Kunst
Verlag Das Beste GmbH
Subjects - Topics
Art and state--Germany
Art museums--Destruction and pillage--France
Art museums--Destruction and pillage--Germany
Art treasures in war--France
Art treasures in war--Germany
Art, Modern--20th century
Art, Modern--20th century--Collectors and collecting--Germany
Lost works of art--France
Lost works of art--Germany
National socialism and art
World War, 1939-1945--Confiscations and contributions--France
World War, 1939-1945--Confiscations and contributions--Germany
Subjects - Places
Germany--Cultural policy--History--20th century
Genres and Forms of Material
Black-and-white prints (photographs)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Dye diffusion transfer prints