Schneider, Zuber, Feilchenfeldt.
Cologne: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013.
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90 minute podium discussion with the authors Schneider, Zuber, Feilchenfeldt, on national radio.
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Kunstsammeln und Kunsthandel im Exil /
Art Dealing and Art Collecting in Exile
Book published in May 2013
Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970), German author of the famous anti-war novel "All Quiet on the Western Front," was also a passionate fine art collector who amassed over 100 Impressionist and Modern artworks during his exile in Switzerland and America from the 1930s through the 1960s. The collection included works by Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Lautrec, Utrillo, van Gogh and others. The Remarque collection reflects the major significance that art held for many European exiles as they fled Nazi Germany – a theme that also pervades Remarque's literature. This project, headed by Dr. Thomas Schneider, director of the Remarque Center (Osnabrück), reconstructed, documented and contextualized the Remarque collection, auctioned off after Remarque’s death.
In 2008, Suzanne Zuber was hired as a specialist in art historical research and consultant to the Remarque project. The reconstruction of the Remarque collection involved five years of extensive research by Ms. Zuber, at over 30 archives, libraries and museums around the world. This included identifying artworks from hand-scrawled titles and from unmarked photographs, and searching hundreds of exhibition and auction catalogues for objects from the Remarque collection, to determine a comprehensive checklist of works formerly owned by Remarque. Ms. Zuber researched and created descriptive historical entries for each of the works. An additional dimension is the private collection of Paulette Goddard, whom Remarque married in 1958. Goddard was also an active collector and maintained friendships with a number of up and coming American artists from the 1940s onwards. New Research by Suzanne Zuber revealed that Goddard owned over 40 artworks, among them Henry Varnum Poor, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol.
A large part of Ms. Zuber’s research pertained to the provenance of each artwork – the chain of owners from its production to its acquisition by Remarque, up to the present day. A special emphasis lay on the period from 1933-1945, since Remarque acquired most works in the collection during or after the National Socialist’s rise to power.
The Book: The 495 page, fully illustrated book edited by Thomas Schneider and Suzanne Zuber, in collaboration with Walter Feilchenfeldt and Inge Jaehner (Felix Nussbaum Haus, Osnabrück), includes an annotated, fully illustrated catalogue of the 152 artworks with detailed provenance listings, as well as six scholarly essays. Using newly discovered primary materials, Suzanne Zuber’s essay examines the Remarque collection in relation to the émigré communities that formed in the United States during and after the Second World War. Other contributions are by Thomas Schneider (on the role of art in the literature of Remarque), Walter Feilchenfeldt (on the lifelong friendship between Remarque and his art dealer Feilchenfeldt), Esther Tisa Francini (on the origins of the Remarque collection in Switzerland), and Lark Mason (on Remarque’s extensive collection of decorative art). The book is in English and German, with all contributions translated by Suzanne Zuber. For translation samples from the Remarque catalogue, click here.
The exhibition: The project was originally slated to debut as an exhibition at the Felix Nussbaum Haus, and Ms. Zuber spent two years researching and corresponding with the current owners of various works from the Remarque collection, in France, Japan, Germany and the United States. Although it was ultimately decided not to produce the exhibition, the research behind the project became published as Remarques Impressionisten – Kunstsammeln und Kunsthandel im Exil / Art Dealing and Art Collecting in Exile.