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Portrait of Sophie Cassirer

Lovis Corinth, German, 1858 - 1925

Made in Germany, Europe


Oil on canvas

37 11/16 × 29 5/8 inches (95.7 × 75.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the George W. Elkins Fund, 1975

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Commissioned from the artist by the sitter's father, Bruno Cassirer (1872-1941), Berlin, Germany, and Oxford, England, 1906-c. 1938; confiscated by the National Socialist authorities, c. 1938; sale, Oellerich, Berlin, March [16?] 1944; purchased by Paul Ortwin Rave (director) for the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, March 16, 1944 (inv. no. A II 1004); recovered by the Allied authorities at the end of WWII and sent to the Central Collecting Point at Wiesbaden, United States zone; returned in 1959 to the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, subsequently sent to the museum at Berlin-Dahlem; restituted to the Cassirer heirs, Sophie Cassirer Walzer (1902-1979) (daughter of Bruno Cassirer), Oxford, England, and George Hill (son-in-law of Bruno Cassirer), Oxford, England, early 1960's [1]; sale, Sotheby's, London, April 21, 1971, lot 72, illus. (as "Sofie mit Puppe") [2]; purchased by Gordon F. Hampton (1912-1996), San Marino, California [3]; with Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York; sold to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, February 3, 1975 [4]. 1. The preceding provenance information provided in a letter of February 10, 2003 (curatorial file), from Dr. Jörn Grabowski, director of the Zentralarchiv of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, based on his research in the museum archives. To escape Nazi persecution in Germany, Bruno Cassirer had fled from Berlin in 1938 to Oxford, England, where he died in 1941. Many other artworks from his collection were also left behind in Germany after his forced emigration and acquired by the Berlin Nationalgalerie in 1944 (see National Archives and Records Administration, Records Concerning the Central Collecting Points ["Ardelia Hall Collection"]; Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point, 1945-1952, publ. no. M1947, Claim: [Germany] Cassirer, Bruno; and State Museums Berlin Collections: Museum Objects in the United States Zone, publ. no. M1947, document p. 118-119; and Tageszeitung, Berlin, August 23, 2002). In a letter dated May 30, 1980 (curatorial file) Michael Kauffmann, whose wife was Sophie Cassirer's niece, recollected that Sophie and her husband Richard Walzer emigrated first to Rome in 1934, then to Oxford in 1938, where her husband was a professor. The other Cassirer heir, Günther Hell, who changed his name to George Hill after his emigration to England in 1938, was Bruno Cassirer's son-in-law, having married his daughter Agnes, and became the head of the Bruno Cassirer publishing firm in Oxford after Cassirer's death. Agnes Cassirer died in the 1950's (see Harry Nutt, Bruno Cassirer, Berlin, 1989, pp. 78-79, 119). Dr. Grabowski's research has shown that as the result of a restitution claim the painting was returned to the Cassirer heirs in the early 1960's. The exact date remains undetermined; it was probably before December 1962, when the Treuhandverwaltung für Kulturgut (Trustee Administration for Cultural Property) of the Federal Republic completed its restitution activities. 2. Presumably consigned by the Cassirer family, although the name of the consignor cannot be confirmed by Sotheby's. Supporting this are notes made by Thomas Corinth (curatorial file), the artist's son and a friend of Sophie Cassirer Walzer, stating that toward the end of her life she put the painting up for sale in London, from which it was purchased by a collector in California. 3. See curatorial file and Sotheby's catalog price list. Thomas Corinth, Lovinth Corinth: eine Dokumentation (1979), p. 323, notes that Hampton lived in San Marino, California. He is presumably to be identified as the prominent Los Angeles attorney and art patron whose large collection of 20th-century art was donated to the California State University, Long Beach, after his death. 4. Copy of receipt from Frumkin Gallery in curatorial file. Thomas Corinth, Lovinth Corinth: Eine Dokumentation (1979), p. 323, notes that Hampton sold to the painting to a New York dealer (presumably Frumkin).