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A Banker and his Pictures


Portrait of Max Steinthal

Portrait of Max Steinthal at his desk at the Deutsche Bank, 1929
© Ullsteinbild

Max Steinthal was co-founder of the Deutsche Bank and among the most significant figures of the empire's economic life. He organized the financial side of the Berlin U-Bahn (subway network) and the founding of the Mannesmann AG. He played an important role in the development of the Deutsche Bank over decades, alongside other functions as chairman of the supervisory board until 1932. After the Nazis seized power, the Jewish financier resigned as chair of the advisory board in 1935 so as - in his own words - not to cause the bank problems. His children had emigrated and in the final years of his life he supported them. After expropriation of the villa, Max Steinthal and his wife Fanny died in a Berlin hotel room in 1940.

Max and Fanny Steinthal had built up an art collection together. While Fanny Steinthal concentrated on her own significant collection of miniatures, the collection of paintings primarily served to adorn the walls of their villa in Charlottenburg, Berlin. Initially, the collection consisted mainly of Dutch and Flemish paintings in keeping with the preferred haute-bourgeois art of the period, but also contained impressionist works so that the collection included contemporary art of the time. Some of the works hung on loan in the former Jewish Museum in the Oranienburger Straße.

The whereabouts of the Steinthal Collection was unknown for decades. But in summer 2003, the collection of paintings was found in Pillnitz Palace, the depot of the Dresden State Art Collections, and restored to the heirs. Fanny Steinthal's miniatures collection has sadly never been found.

When

04 September 2004 - 26 September 2004

Where

Jewish Museum Berlin, Libeskind Building, Ground floor, Art Gallery

Therefore the chance to show the public a representative selection of Max Steinthal's collection has presented itself at short notice. The Jewish Museum Berlin is seizing this opportunity to host an exhibition on this significant figure of German economic life and his collection. Alongside 13 paintings and 20 prints - among them a painting by Lovis Corinth, an etching by Max Liebermann, three etchings by Edouard Manet, a lithography by Edvard Munch, three works by Pablo Picasso, a sketch by Camille Pissarro, charcoals and the painting entitled "Pumpkin Harvest" by Giovanni Segantini, and the oil painting "The Three Sails (Fisherwomen on the Beach)" by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida - documents and photographs are on display which shed light on Max Steinthal's life and environment and so provide insight into the Berlin haute-bourgeoisie prior to the Nazi era.

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