SPECIAL ADVISORY: The Yale University Art Gallery opens to the public with free, timed-entry tickets to its permanent-collection galleries beginning Friday, May 14, 2021. Plan Your Visit

European Art
Artist: Jan Griffier the Elder, Dutch, 1645–1718

A Rheinish Landscape

ca. 1705

Oil on copper

47.9 × 60 cm (18 7/8 × 23 5/8 in.)
Bequest of Dr. Herbert and Monika Schaefer
2020.37.40
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
Dutch
Period: 
17th–18th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Provenance: 

Austrian Imperial Collections, Belvedere Palace, Vienna, by 1884 (inv. no. 1229); transferred to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 1891 (inv. no. GG 648); on loan to the Reichskanzlei, Berlin, from 1938 [see note 1]; transferred to an air-raid shelter, by August 31, 1944 [see note 2]. Sale, "The Property of a Gentleman," Christie’s, London, December 13, 1991, lot 1; sold to Thomas Agnew’s, London, December 13, 1991 (stock no. B1869); sold to Dr. Herbert Schaefer (1910–2011) and Mrs. Monika Schaefer (neé Winter, died 2019) Malaga, Spain, December 18, 1991; on loan to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1993–2019; bequeathed to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2019

Note 1: The Reichskanzlei (Reich Chancellory) was the office of the Chancellor of Germany; the painting was displayed with others on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in the entrance hall for the offices of the Reichsminister, Dr. Hans Lammers (1879-1962) (German Federal Archives, Koblenz, B323/466; National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland, Ardelia Hall Collection, Restitution Claim Records, NARA M1947, Record Group 260, Roll 0042)

Note 2: The paintings on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum were transferred to an air-raid shelter in the basement of the Reichskanzlei around August 1944. A letter from August 31, 1944, from the Reich Chancellor Willy Meerwald (1868–1960) to the directorship of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, discusses the movement of the works of art noting that the transfer had been ordered by Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) and that the paintings were to remain there until the end of the war. (Angela Schönberger, Die neue Reichskanzlei von Albert Speer: zum Zusammenhang von nationalsozialistischer Ideologie und Architektur, Gebr. Mann Verlag: Berlin, 1981, p.142, note 72)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The fate of the painting following its transfer to the air-raid shelter is unknown. The Reichskanzlei was heavily damaged during the Battle of Berlin (April–May 1945), one of the last major Allied offensives during the Second World War. What remained of the building was part of the Soviet Zone of occupation, and it was destroyed shortly thereafter.
The Gallery has been communicating with the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, to determine the painting’s provenance.

This work appears on our "Artworks with Nazi-Era Provenance Documentation Gaps" page.
Bibliography: 

Collection: Dr. Herbert & Monika Schaefer, Selected Works, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Mountain View Press, 1998), 126-128, no. 40, ill.

Joachim Pissarro, Saints, Sinners, and Scenery: European Genre and Landscape Paintings from the Collection of Herbert and Monika Schaefer, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 16, ill.

Gudrun Swoboda, Die kaiserliche Gemäldegalerie in Wien und die Anfänge des öffentlichen Kunstmuseums, Band 1, Die Kaiserliche Galerie im Wiener Belvedere (1776-1837), 1 (Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 2014), 257, 298, no. 30, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.