Dr Fritz Mannheimer collections ending up in various Dutch Museums (other than the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam).


Text: Drs Kees Kaldenbach

Outstanding art tours in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

See the Online Menu of related Mannheimer articles

Specific Mannheimer tour in the Rijksmuseum by Drs Kaldenbach.



Annex 1: Mannheimer art objects distributed to other Dutch Museums than the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

After the recuperation in 1945 of about 3000 items from Mannheimer’s treasure from salt mines by the Allied 'Monuments Men', talks took place in 1946-1947 in a small committee between Ministries and Dutch museum directors over which museum would receive which recuperated art objects. Several museum directors may have visited the Rijksmuseum cellars and museum rooms, where the Mannheimer treasure was stored and exhibited. Perhaps they also went through many boxes and baskets kept in The Hague in the buildings of the Ministry of Finance, which were stored there up to 1948. They certainly used the inventory made in 1939-1940 (Fig. 10).

Initially the Rijksmuseum claimed 4/5 of the value of the treasure; consequently other Dutch museums should have received the remaining 1/5. A letter dated 18 December 1947 by committee member Dr van Gelder to the Netherlands Art Property Foundation authority (SNK) in charge of distribution, lists this key for the redistribution of drawings, art objects and furniture. Another document lists and values the paintings. However, looking over the post-war division, the value in fact received by the other Dutch museums does not reach the intended 1/5 part at all. With hindsight another decision was made, not traceable in the archives; the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum received nearly everything.

In 1947-1948, the group of 27 paintings from Mannheimer’s collection was also distributed to various Dutch museums. This subdivision (also in terms of monetary value) was arranged by the Dutch State service for dispersed works of art ‘Dienst voor ’s Rijks Verspreide Kunstvoorwerpen’, presently renamed the‘Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed’ (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands). The list is kept in the Dutch national archives and is visible online on the author’s web site.


On request, the Mauritshuis has provided a Mannheimer inventory list. In 1960, it had received the following items from the State:
- Falconet’s ‘L’Amour Menaçant’; this important sculpture went back to the Rijksmuseum in 1963 as long-term loan.
- Nicolas Bernard Lepicié, Portrait of a Boy with a Sketchbook, valued at f 800; also loaned back to the Rijksmuseum.

The Mauritshuis kept the following paintings:
- J. van der Heyden, View of the Oudezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam at f 21,000.
- F. van Mieris the Elder, Brothel Scene, although then valued low at only f 4,000, this now seems to be one of the museum’s key paintings (see below).
- L. G. Moreau the Elder, Fashionably Dressed Company in a Garden. Valued at f 1,250.
- E. van der Neer, Woman Washing her Hands, at f 5,000.
- I. van Ostade, Winter Landscape, at f 40,000.
- J. Verkolje, The Messenger, also named: Times Change, at f 9,000.


Below an image of one of the best Van der Neer paintings worldwide. Strangely enough it is seldom on view in the galleries:


According to art historian Dr Eddy Schavemaker who wrote a thesis on Eglon van der Neer, this is one of the best of his paintings, regarding "taste", colour, sharpness, detail. Obviously Mannheimer and the art dealers, which he employed, had the best pick of the available paintings.

Dr G.F. Waagen (1794-1868), director of the Berlin museum, was generally critical about late Dutch 17th C art but he actually raved about this painting in superlatives: "In this picture is so much flavor to the arrangement, so much grace in his movements, so masterly perfection, so warm and harmoniousin flesh tones, finally creating a fine understanding of chiaroscuro, that van der Neer is inferior to none of the most famous conversation piece painters."

Original German text: "In diesem Bilde ist so viel Geschmack der Anordnung, so viel Grazie in den Bewegungen, eine so meisterliche Vollendung, ein so warmer, harmonischer Fleischton, endlich ein so fein verstandnes Helldunkel, dass van der Neer darin keinem der berühmtesten Conversationsmaler nachsteht." kindly provided by Dr Eddy Schavemaker, 2014.




F. van Mieris the Elder, Brothel Scene, one of the finest of Mannheimer's paintings, now exhibited in the Mauritshuis. In the museum's annual report this painting was coyly labeled: "The Gallant Officer", and the provenance was given mentioned as SNK, dealing with recuperated property from Germany and Austria. The report text did not mention Mannheimer's name at all. In a 1949 restoration of the painting the two copulating dogs, prudishly painted over in the Victorian age, were made visible again.

Excerpt from the printed museum catalogue (2014 ?), cat inv 860: "The way in which the various textiles and materials have been painted borders on the incredible, such as the shiny textile of the maid's clothing, or the sublimely painted reflection on the pewter can and the reflections in the soldier's metal cuirass. Together with his teacher Gerrit Dou, Van Mieris is considered as one of the foremost painters in the Leiden Fijnschilder school. This painting is from Van Mieris's early period. Within a short time span, he painted a number of masterworks of a level which he would not match again later on." See also the Van Mieris exhibition catalogue, 2005, p. 116-117.

A wiki page in Dutch exists on this painting, testament to the great present day appreciation and enthusiasm. The Mauritshuis fails to abide by the law- on the sigh in teh museum) and does NOT mention the Jewish (Mannheimer) provenance.




A third Dutch art museum of national importance, Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam received this group: two Faun sculptures; a Fragonard drawing showing an Open air Auction, and one Jan Steen painting, Village Wedding, valued at f 120,000. Surprisingly, the Rubens oil sketch Perseus and Medusa, reported “missing” in 1940, was acquired much later, in a 1991 sale. It was listed in the 1941-1942 inventory of Mannheimer’s collection. The museum labels it as Collection Koenigs.




The Frans Hals museum received a J.M. Molenaer, Group portrait in an Interior, possible being a Self Portrait with Family Members.  



The Dordrechts Museum now holds a painting by N. Maes of a Maid with Fish and Bucket. Other minor Dutch museums have also received some less important Mannheimer art objects.



The Dutch Royal Library (KB) received two costly mediaeval illuminated manuscripts formerly in Mannheimer’s library, They were given by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands as a permanent loan to the Royal Library KB: Valerius Maximus, initially valued at f 60.000, later reduced in pencil to f 15.000 (NHA 476-2142-9; the book presently kept in the KB (KB 66 B 13) and Scipio Africanus/ Plutarch’s Lives, valued at f 13.500 (KB 134 C 19).

Present whereabouts is unknown for one painting in the SNK list: W. van de Velde the Younger, Calm Sea, Thee Fishing Boats and in the Background a War Ship valued at f 9,000; a photograph is present in the Noord-Hollands Archief (NHA 476-2142-17).

With hindsight the Dutch museums - other than the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum - did not receive their allotted 20% part of the remaining Mannheimer treasure. No archival document has yet surfaced to explain why the Rijksmuseum in the end was to keep about 98% instead of the intended 80%. One may consider that the body of the entire Dutch museum collections put together (called Collectie Nederland) may in the end have been optimally furthered by the concentration in one place, the Rijksmuseum. Having received this outstanding applied art collection, it gained leverage to acquire more related high quality objects.

After the recuperation in 1945, the Dutch State had already ordered the auctioning off of the less valuable remainder in 1952. The first Mannheimer auction had already taken place during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands; secondary quality items were then sold off.  
In 1952, the remaining parts of the Mannheimer treasure not allocated to Dutch museums were also auctioned off in Amsterdam. The proceeds went to the remaining creditors from the 1939 surseance of the bank, and perhaps also to the Dutch state for taxes. The sale was comprised of 476 numbered items. Objects ranged from a large terracotta wall object by Della Robbia that went for f 6,000 to much lower prices for minor items. In the furniture section the highest prize was for a set of matched furniture for f 24,500. One tapestry reached a high of f 6,200, and one bronze lustre object fetched f 45,000. The highest runaway price was for a set of 24 ‘vermeil orfevri’ plates, 25 cm in diameter that went for a stunning f 340,000. However, most of the prices for the 476 sold items lay much lower, in the range of a few hundred guilders.


Further reading and notes: http://kalden.home.xs4all.nl/mann/Mannheimer-menu.html




Thanks to my daughter Suzanne Kaldenbach who designed this beautiful flow chart.

The bottom two boxes presents a slight problem, as the pink box "Other Museums" should have gotten a much larger chunk of the Mannheimer Treasure, but in fact only got some crumbs. Altough the ones actually received by the Mauritshuis (Van der Neer, Van Mieris) are glorious. Both of them deserve a museum label mentioning Mannheimer.


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Drs. Kees Kaldenbach, art historian, kalden@xs4all.nl Haarlemmermeerstraat 83hs, 1058 JS Amsterdam (near Surinameplein, ring road exit s106, streetcar tram 1 and 17).

Telephone 020 669 8119; cell phone 06 - 2868 9775.

Open seven days a week. Menu of tours

Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel) number of Johannesvermeer.info / Lichaam & Ziel [ Body & Soul] is 3419 6612.

E mail esponses and bookings to art historian Drs. Kees Kaldenbach.

This page forms part of the 2000+ item Vermeer web site at www.xs4all.nl/~kalden

Updated better web site at www.johannesvermeer.info

Launched November 12, 2014. Updated 12 september, 2018.


Further reading:


Adriaen Coorte, by Quentin Buvelot, book & exhibition catalogue.
De Grote Rembrandt, door Gary Schwartz, boek.
Geschiedenis van Alkmaar, boek.
Carel Fabritius, Tentoonstellingscatalogus.
Frans van Mieris, Tentoonstellingscatalogus.
From Rembrandt to Vermeer, Grove Art catalogue, book.
Vermeer Studies, Congresbundel.
C. Willemijn Fock: Het Nederlandse interieur in beeld, boek.
Het Huwelijksgeschenk (1934), boek over de egoïstische vrouw, die haar luiheid botviert.
Zandvliet, 250 De Rijksten van de Gouden Eeuw , boek + nieuwe stippenplattegrond!
Ik doe wat ik doe, teksten van Lennaert Nijgh , boek + cd
Het Rotterdam Boek, boek.
Bouwen in Nederland 600 - 2000, boek.
Hollandse Stadsgezichten/ Dutch Cityscape, exhib. cat.
Zee van Land / over Hollandse Polders (NL) boek
Sea of Land / about Dutch Polders (English) book
A full article on the large portrait of the marvellous preacher Uytenboogaard.
Artikel over Uytenboogaerd, Nederlandse versie.
Geert Grote en het religieuze Andachtsbild
TEFAF 2008 art fair


Note from some readers:

"I am impressed by the work on and the results of your research into Fritz Mannheimer and his collection".

"Ik ben onder de indruk van het werk en de resultaten van uw onderzoek naar Fritz Mannheimer en zijn collectie."

Geert-Jan Koot, December 18, 2014.
Head of the Rijksmuseum Research Library, Head or Research.

"Mannheimer owned one of the supreme works by Eglon van der Neer, on whom I wrote a PhD thesis. Mannheimer's name really did not ring a bell until I ran into your research, which is really impressive, both in terms of research and contents presented. Strangely enough we hear almost nothing about this collector.

Art historian Dr Eddy Schavemaker, December 2014.

In Dutch: "Mannheimer bezat een van de allermooiste werken van Eglon van der Neer, over wie ik een proefschrift geschreven heb. Maar Mannheimers naam zei mij eigenlijk vrij weinig totdat ik stuitte op uw onderzoek dat werkelijk indrukwekkend is (zowel het onderzoek zelf als de inhoud). Het is vreemd dat we eigenlijk maar zo weinig horen en lezen over deze verzamelaar."

Art historian Dr Eddy Schavemaker, December 2014.

Gary Schwartz, in an email dated February 1, 2015, finds it interesting that Mannheimer resembled Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald). In Dutch: "Interessant dat Mannheimer op Jay Gatsby lijkt: allebei flamboyante societystrebers die toch onopvallend in de schaduw wilden leven.

"Een vergelijking tot op zekere hoogte wordt gevormd door de geschiedenis van Joost Ritman. Ook hij bouwde een verzameling van wereldklasse op met geld dat niet in de nodige mate van hemzelf was. Jarenlang waren zijn inspanningen vooral gericht op het terugkrijgen van zijn bedrijf. De bibliotheek en de kunstcollectie, hoe veeleisend en bewonderenswaardig ook, waren een nevenactiviteit. Dat was vast ook het geval met Mannheimer."

Schwartz schrijft verder over deze Mannheimer studie: "...dat de betekenis van jouw studie en de kansen om het op een waardige wijze uit te geven, geholpen zouden worden door een uitbreiding van het stuk tot een veelomvattender studie van Mannheimers leven en werk, naast jouw indrukwekkende reconstructie van de verzameling en zijn lotgevallen."

Mw. dr. Ruth Kaloena Krul, in een email van 23 februari 2015:

"Je artikel beschrijft helder en overzichtelijk ontstaan en uiteenvallen van Fritz Mannheimers verbazende kunstcollectie. Tegelijkertijd schets je m.i. terecht een zodanig beeld van de verzamelaar dat de lezer met hem kan sympathiseren, al zijn extravagantie en kennelijke koopverslaving ten spijt. In het notenapparaat heb je een uiterst bruikbare lijst van het beschikbare bronnenmateriaal en relevante passages in de literatuur bijeengebracht."

Dear Kees,
We are home now, much enlightened and pleased by your guidance. The trip to Kroller-Muller was very enjoyable and a high point of our visit in Holland.
I want to commend you on the Mannheim collection article which I read with great interest. It is a fascinating story, made a bit more interesting to us because we have a slight acquaintance with Annette (now de la Renta.)
Thank you again for your kindness and expertise.
best regards
Nick Ludington (May 23, 2015)


"I am immersed in your Mannheimer article and spectacularly fascinated."

(Anonymous, April 2017)



From the Annual Report, Rijkmuseum, 2015, page 27. In 2015 the Rijksmuseum research has started inquiries into the provenance of the Mannheimer collection. A report to the Museum Vereniging is given in spring, 2016.