The Polish government has been funding a research project to document Silesian art collectors from the 18th century onwards. The aim of the project is to create a publicly available database of information on private art collections in Silesia until 1945.
Beside the information on particular works of art, the database contains descriptions of the collections as such, accompanied by short biographical notes and portraits of the collectors as well as images of the interiors of their residences, decorated by the works of art. The database also contains a bibliography of the most important publications on the collections and the objects they consisted of. 'The Reading Room', including theme related articles, is intended to be an important platform of information exchange. An additional source of knowledge on the former collections will be present in the form of critically processed fragments of contemporary texts, e.g. press articles, journals and diaries of visitors to art collections and other written accounts from the time of the collections' existence.
The information gathered in the database is intended to enable a theoretical reconstruction of former art collections in Silesia by presenting the objects which used to belong to them and the interiors in which they were exhibited. Initial assumptions are for the database to include the descriptions of at least 200 collectors and around 5.000 works of art.
In the 20th century, many of the collectors were Jewish, living in Breslau, and many of their remarkable collections were seized by the Nazis.
Among the Jewish collectors profiled on the associated website are Emil Kaim, Leo Lewin, Ismar Littmann, Theodor Loewe, Wilhelm Perlhöfter, Max Pringsheim, Adolf Rothenberg, Carl Sachs, Max Silberberg and Leo Smoschewer,
To read about the collectors, click on their names above.
To visit the site, click here.
The collector Leo Lewin in 1927