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Tracing German paintings and routes of travel of various art

Article about: Greetings everyone! Anna, an art-history, almost graduate, here! I would like to show you these stamps, found on the back of several paintings. These prompted me with my dissertation idea an

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    Default Tracing German paintings and routes of travel of various art

    Greetings everyone! Anna, an art-history, almost graduate, here!

    I would like to show you these stamps, found on the back of several paintings. These prompted me with my dissertation idea and now i am researching the potential route that paintings traversed. I am using two paintings, as the case study, whose provenance and migration I am trying to trace, both of which seem to have ties to Heinrich Hoffmann.
    I would like to, kindly, ask the community, to assist me in my quest.
    Firstly, I was wondering if anyone could tell me anything about the stamps themselves. I, already, received some confirmation, about the eagle stamp, that there indeed existed, and were in circulation, stamps these size, designated for "transportation" purposes. Would any units in charge for transporting something/somewhere outside Germany have on of these? Were they used for looted or purchased items?
    Secondly, what about the signature (name) stamp? My contact hasn't been able to tell me anything solid, yet. Does anyone know of any insight with regards to name stamps, especially of these size?
    The conundrum I have with this stamp, is that in his interrogations Hoffman really likes to underline that he had never held any OFFICIAL posts in the Third Reich, partly because of this, I assume, gave him ground in retaining/claiming his own art collection post-war. Even the first exhibitions at the Haus de Deutchen Kunst, he had more of a directorial influence, from his own confessions, than an official post.
    Furthermore, from those same interrogations the means of acquisitions are described as following:
    “The majority of the works of art purchased for the Linz originally proposed to the directors of the Museum or to Hoffman by letter, photograph enclosed. If the were considered desirable as acquisitions, the photographs were forwarded to the Reichkanzlei, and if accepted by Hitler, the owner was notified and instructed to send the objects to the Feuhrerbau. The same system existed for the agents who bought outside Germany”
    From the above extract, I am inferring two things: either that these paintings weren’t selected for the “official” channel of acquisition, in other words, not for being exhibited and sent to the Feuhrebau, but for personal interests, otherwise why would they be stamped with Hoffmann’s name? I guess, what I am asking, is that, does anyone know, if any other paintings were stamped with the names of other “art-dealers”, museum directors, or any other stamps, except the state eagel one, BEOFORE being sent, approved and catalogued at the Feuhrebau?
    Or, the fact that the paintings, when being offered to Hoffmann and other Museum directors, these stamps would serve as a “designation” that this particular painting was selected by this particular individual? Than the existence of the stamp itself makes sense.
    Otherwise, how unusual do you think, it is, for a stamp with Hoffmann’s name existing, given the fact that there is no “institutional” basis for it, that he never held an official position?
    On the other hand, if, from the Methods of Acquisition, we do assume that Hoffmann, and others, had these stamps of their names, that were placed on objects that were offered to the Reich, as a means of designating who chose what, could this have been exploited by Hoffmann in personal matters? Would he are use it on ANY looted items? How hard/easy would be for Hoffmann to arrange the selection of items for his personal or incidental goals, and how would he transport them? Would he be “allowed”/”dare” to place the stamps on items he legitimately bought/looted, but selected for himself?
    This brings me to my next, from interrogations I found that Hoffmann used paintings as bribes for various, the likes of Hermann Goring. It is speculated that these particular paintings would have been transported towards Hoffmann in the years 1939 and 1945. Does anyone know of any train bombings in the areas of France or Holland between the years late 1939 and 1945? Does anyone know by which means were such items transported? Trains only? Or trucks, as well?
    Finally, with regards to his stamp being used on any looted items, as posed in the question above. Given the well-known feuds among these people, particularly the strain between Hoffmann and Bormann. I ponder above if Hoffmann would dare use this stamp of “designation of his choice” in selfish pursuits.
    I was told by someone that Hoffmann had/owned/controlled a logistics (transportation) company, this would explain a lot. However, I wasn't successful in finding any proof that Hoffmann indeed owned any transportation company. However, after reading a few more interrogations, it was clear that Hoffmann was involved in many affairs, stretching far beyond his primordial areas of interests and even business (his photography studios and magazines). From documents and interrogations, Hoffmann was involved in anything, eg receiving bribes for rackets that had to do with DAF and assisting tax-evasions, like the ones of Philipp Reemtsma, and even having a nickname “Reich Drunkard”. I am not sure what exactly the nickname means, but it was said that he was a go-between this sort of matters, so I guess that’s that.
    Anyway, from these, I infer that Hoffmann much prised asset, wasn’t as much his influence, as it is often described as overestimated, but his connections, and particularly in his own pursuits.
    A lot of times, with regards to some affair or racket, I would see Hoffmann’s name, tagged along Goring’s or Alois Miedl’s.
    Goring was a person of official post, and there was at least one occasion, when he ensured Reemtsma obtained the largest woodworking concern in Europe, Turkey and Slovakia, so Goring’s influence was real. Miedl was a very well connected broker.
    Essentially, I wonder, maybe Hoffmann didn’t have a transportation company, but maybe a channel was organized for him by Goring? Does anyone know of transportation companies operating during the regime, with circumstantial links to Hoffmann, Goring, or Miedl, maybe even Hans Posse (Director of Linz) and Hans Reger (catalogue-er of the Feuherbaur)?
    Finally, does anyone know any info about Alphonso Bruemmer or Michael Bauer? Apparently, they were the ones that handled the day to day business and financial affairs of Hoffmann? Has anyone encountered their names linked to any transportation company?
    I deeply apologize for such a long read and thank anyone for any suggestions and aid in advance.

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    Hello Anna,

    I am not an art expert at all so I will assume the actual paintings are from the era? Could we see them? Is the stamp still on the painting or have you removed them? If removed, I must ask .. why?

    I have to say the 'stamp' is suspect. Is it common practice in the art world to 'stamp' a painting with old roughly cut and dirty hessian material (sandbag material)?
    Last edited by christek; 02-18-2020 at 12:58 AM.
    Best regards,
    Chris

    "Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also."
    Carl Jung

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