Ludwig Dettmann

Mutter mit Kind in einem Innenraum, 1896
Oil on canvas
63.5 x 83 cm
Inv.-No.: KS-Gemälde DAK 3256


1896 – at least in 1929, in the possession of the artist | presumably until 1945 Prussian Academy of Arts, Berlin | 1958 returned from the USSR | 02/09/1962 Academy of the Arts, Berlin (East) (inventory)

The German painter Ludwig Dettmann (1865–1944) was one of the founding members of the Berlin Secession in 1898 and was the director of Kunstakademie Königsberg from spring 1901 to 1917. He became a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin in 1912. In addition to landscapes and depictions of the life of the people of North Germany, Dettmann painted murals for public buildings, for example such as the town halls in Altona and Kiel. During the First World War, he was an official war artist on the Eastern and Western Fronts. In 1929, he participated in the transatlantic flight of the airship "Graf Zeppelin" to make drawings during the trip.

Ludwig Dettmann joined the NSDAP in 1933 and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Reichsverband Bildender Künstler (Reich Association of Fine Artists). Hitler posthumously added him to the Gottbegnadeten (God-gifted) list. This list, which was divided into several separate lists, was compiled on behalf of Joseph Goebbels in August 1944 and listed more than one thousand "cultural creatives" of National Socialism who were seen as "irreplaceable". This was also associated with being released from military and labour service on the grounds of their artistic service. In addition to Dettmann, Heinrich George, Gustaf Gründgens, Gerhart Hauptmann, Arno Breker, Georg Kolbe, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Arthur Kampf, among others, were deemed to be "God-gifted".

For the oil painting Mutter und Kind in einem Innenraum (also: Interieur), there are still gaps in the provenance chain. It was shown as several exhibitions but could not always be precisely identified as the titles varied. This kind of difficulty regularly comes up in provenance research. Previously, the exhibition catalogue for 100 Jahre Berliner Kunst (100 Years of Berlin Art) by the Verein Berliner Künstler, which noted that is was the "property of the artist", a least revealed its provenance up until 1929.

Interestingly, handwritten annotations on the back suggested that the picture made a further journey in the post-war period: the Cyrillic letters "Ж" (probably an abbreviation of "живописЬ" – "painting") and the number "5". According to a file note, the work was taken to the Soviet Union after the Second World War and made its way back in the course of the returns from the USSR in 1958. However, it was only first catalogued in the inventory at the Academy of the Arts (East) on 2 September 1962. From 1963 to the 1990s, the painting was on loan to the Nationalgalerie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (East).

Digital representations

Archive database