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Regler Church, Erfurt

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"When I was six or seven years old I was taken to the Metropolitan Museum, and of all the paintings I saw the only ones to make a deep impression on me were from a very early period; they represented Gothic architecture with figures, bright and beautiful in color and clearly...

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Upper left: Feininger


About 1930/1932, sold by the artist to Fritz Hesse (b. 1881 - d. 1973), mayor of Dessau, Germany, for the city of Dessau [see note 1]; 1937, removed from the Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie, Dessau, and taken by the Nazi propaganda ministry to Berlin [see note 2]; 1938, transferred to Schloss Niederschönhausen, near Berlin [see note 3]; 1939, sold through Karl Buchholz to Curt Valentin (b. 1902 - d. 1954), Buchholz Gallery, New York [see note 4]; February, 1953, sold by Valentin to George David Thompson (b. 1899 - d. 1965), Pittsburgh. 1957, Galerie Beyeler, Basel; 1957, sold by Beyeler to the MFA for $12,000. (Accession Date: April 11, 1957) NOTES: [1] The painting originally hung in the Messel-Haus, the home of the mayor of Dessau. In 1933, it was removed and, in July of that year, included in an "exhibition of disgrace" in the office windows of the Anthaltische Tageszeitung newspaper, intended to demonstrate the squandering of public money on what was perceived as undesirable art. From September 19 - October 3, 1937, it was included in a local exhibition called "Entartete Kunst" or "Degenerate Art" at the Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie. (This was not identical to the large exhibition of the same name that toured Germany and Austria from 1937 until 1941.) See Christoph Zuschlag, Entartete Kunst: Ausstellungsstrategien im Nazi-Deutschland (Worms, 1995), pp. 111, 338, no. 3.6, p. 354. [2] Between August and October 1937, works of art that were identified as "degenerate"--in particular, avant-garde or abstract modern paintings, works on paper, and sculptures--were removed from German public museums. The Nazi propaganda ministry took charge of these works of art, eventually selling or trading many of them, and destroying others. Feininger's Regler Church is listed among the 84 works of art taken from the Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie, Dessau (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, " 'Entartete' Kunst," typescript inventory, 1942 [?], n. p., no. 10930, "Reglerkirche"). [3] Zuschlag, 1995 (as above, n. 1), p. 168. Many works of "degenerate" art that were considered marketable were taken to the Schloss Niederschönhausen to be sold for foreign currency. [4] Four dealers were appointed to sell the art at Niederschönhausen, including Karl Buchholz. The " 'Entartete' Kunst" inventory (as above, n. 2) notes that Feininger's Regler Church was sold through Buchholz. As with other works from Niederschönhausen, Buchholz would have sold it to his associate, Curt Valentin, who had immigrated to the United States in 1937 and established the Buchholz Gallery in New York. According to Ralph F. Colin, executor of the Valentin estate, it was acquired by Valentin in November, 1939 (letter to the MFA, April 23, 1957). It is possible, though not certain, that this was one of the three Feininger oil paintings Valentin purchased from the propaganda ministry in December, 1939; see Andreas Hünecke, "On the Trail of Missing Masterpieces: Modern Art from German Galleries," in Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, ed. Stephanie Barron (exh. cat. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1991), pp. 121-133, esp. p. 130. Also see Lynn H. Nicholas, Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Cultural Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War (New York, 1994), p. 24. It was included in "Landmarks in Modern German Art" (Buchholz Gallery, New York, April 2-27, 1940), cat. no. 3, a show organized by Valentin that was made up of works of "degenerate" art from German museums.

Credit Line

The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund


© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.



126.68 x 102.23 cm (49 7/8 x 40 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas