Paul Klee, Lebkuchenbild (The Gingerbread House), detail, 1925. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Andres Kilger.
The Nationalgalerie and the Zentralarchiv at Museum Berggruen are presenting an exhibition to mark the end of a three-year provenance research project. The exhibition tells the previously little-known life stories of paintings, drawings and sculptures by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. How does an artwork become popular? Who were its owners? Under what circumstances did it change hands? The exhibition also includes a contemporary installation by French artist Raphaël Denis.
The exhibition reveals how the reverse side of a work is examined for clues to its provenance, giving visitors an understanding of the day-to-day work of provenance researchers. Every work that was researched receives a label detailing provenance chains that are also extensively documented and fully referenced in the exhibition catalogue. This special exhibition focuses on the provenance of artworks and their ownership histories prior to 1945. It also provides the occasion for a comprehensive rearrangement of the works, which are presented in new constellations both inside and outside the exhibition rooms.