Flagellation of Christ

Attributed to Master of the St. Goar Altar (German, 15th century)
Flagellation of Christ, ca. 1480s

Oil on oak panel
19 5/16 x 19 7/16 in. (49.1 x 49.4 cm); frame: 23 1/2 x 23 5/8 in. (59.7 x 60 cm)
Gift of Herman B Wells, 85.59

Provenance

ca. 1815–1821, Collection of Edward Solly, Berlin (1776–1847, English merchant and collector living in Berlin)

1821, Solly collection sold to King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia. The collection was purchased with the intent to form a public art gallery in Berlin.

1821–1918, Collection of the Prussian royal family. Hung in the Jagdschloss Grunewald, a royal Renaissance hunting lodge near Berlin.

1918–1945, Collection of the Jagdschloss Grunewald, administered as a museum since 1932 by the Berlin State Palaces and Gardens Foundation.

Summer 1945, painting disappeared from the Jagdschloss Grunewald, evidently stolen by an allied soldier

1945–1952, whereabouts unknown

1952, Gallery Lasson, London. Sold to the Sherer collection, Jersey, England

Spring 1966, at L. Koetser Gallery, London. Probably sold to Zola Lasson of the Gallery Lasson, London, later that year

December 1966, Sale, "Große Kunstauktion in Luzern," Galerie Fischer, Lucerne, Switzerland (lot no. 2158). Did NOT sell, and was returned to the consignor (Zola Lasson)

December 1966–February 1967, Gallery Lasson, London

February 1967, Herman B Wells purchased the painting from Gallery Lasson, London

1967–1985, Collection of Herman B Wells, Bloomington, Indiana

1985, Gift of Herman B Wells to the Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington

Exhibitions

June 16–October 9, 1989, "Gifts to the IU Art Museum, 1985–89," Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington

October 6–December 23, 2001, "Living with Art: The Legacy of Herman B Wells," Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington

Catalogue Raisonné

Stange, Alfred. Kritisches Verzeichnis der deutschen Tafelbilder vor Dürer. II Band: Oberrhein, Bodensee, Schweiz, Mittelrhein, Ulm, Augsburg, Allgäu, Nördlingen, von der Donau zum Neckar. Munich: Bruckmann, 1970. (pg. 108, no. 482a, listed as part of a Passion Altar)

The 1945 looting of this painting is documented in:

Bartoschek, Gerd, and Christoph Martin Vogtherr. Zerstört, Entführt, Verschollen: Die Verluste der preußischen Schlösser im Zweiten Weltkrieg: Gemälde I (Destroyed, Stolen, Missing: The Losses of the Prussian Palaces in the Second World War: Paintings I). Potsdam: Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten, Berlin-Brandenburg, 2004.

Alternate Titles

Geisselung Christi

Previous Attributions

North German School

Cologne or Münster Master

Master of the Aachen Cabinet(?)

Remarks

In 1985, Indiana University Chancellor Herman B Wells gave the IU Art Museum this painting, which he had purchased in London in 1967. Wells purchased the painting in good faith and was not aware of its prior history. In the fall of 2004 the IU Art Museum was contacted by representatives of the Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, which administers the Jagdschloss Grunewald, a small museum in Berlin. The museum indicated that this painting had been seized by Allied (probably British) soldiers in 1945 at the end of World War II. Extensive research of the painting's provenance, including examination of archival documentation and consideration of circumstantial evidence, has borne out this claim.

In June 2006, Dr. Adelheid Gealt, the director of the IU Art Museum, informed the Jagdschloss of our decision to return the painting to Germany. It is our belief that we cannot ethically retain this painting, which was unlawfully removed from the Jagdschloss Grunewald in 1945, in our collection. As the Jagdschloss Grunewald is currently undergoing extensive renovations, the painting will remain on display at the Indiana University Art Museum until 2010. Along with our colleagues in Berlin, we are pleased to have resolved this claim in an agreeable manner. An exhibition commemorating the restitution is currently being planned in collaboration with the Jagdschloss Grunewald.