Painting of Oskar Moll with plant and books
Nazi-looted cultural property

Görlitz Silesian Museum researches the provenance of a painting by Oskar Moll

A short project started at the Silesian Museum in 1 June 2023 which is funded by the German Lost Art Foundation and entitled “Provenance research on the painting ‘Aechmea fasciata with books and Century Hall’, c. 1925 by Oskar Moll, Görlitz Silesian Museum, inventory number SMG 2001/1900”.

The aim of the six-month project is to clarify the provenance of a still life by the artist Oskar Moll (1875-1947) for the period between its creation around 1925/26 in Breslau and its first known sale in Amsterdam in the 1950s. The painting was acquired in 2000 and can now be viewed as part of the museum’s permanent exhibition.

The project resulted from a request for information submitted by the descendants of the Jewish collector Otto Wachenheim: they raised the suspicion that the painting by Oskar Moll could be identical to a “still life with book” that was in the Wachenheim Collection until 1939. Otto Wachenheim lived in the Netherlands from 1923 onwards. Immediately after the outbreak of war in 1939 he emigrated to New York, before the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1940. His assets including his art collection remained in his house in Amsterdam, which was temporarily taken over by the German authorities after 1940. According to Wachenheim, his furniture and art objects disappeared when the house was abandoned by the occupying forces in 1944.

While in exile in the US, Otto Wachenheim compiled a list of his art collection from memory, including a description of a “still life with book” by Oskar Moll. This description dated 17 May 1951 was entered as a search request in the Lost Art database (Lost Art ID 414984) in 2009; no illustration has survived. It has not yet been possible to establish definitively whether the “still life with book” that was confiscated as a result of persecution is identical to the work in the Görlitz Museum collection. For this reason, in-depth research is required to establish the provenance and the works’ provenance and identity.

To the search request in Lost Art