The Jakob Nussbaum Archive also includes works by other Frankfurt artists whose activities and creative output shaped cultural life in Frankfurt in the period to 1933 and who were subsequently marginalized, persecuted, forced into exile, or murdered. We have partially rediscovered the work of these artists, most of whom are forgotten today. Our goal is to make their art accessible to a broad audience. For this purpose, we are collecting art not only from the period before their persecution, but also from their time in exile. In the future, we hope to expand this art archive with the help of donations and acquisitions.
Jakob Nussbaum Collection
With the help of private donors and the Friends and Patrons of the Jewish Museum, we have in recent years acquired part of the artistic estate of Frankfurt impressionist Jakob Nussbaum (1873–1936). It includes around two hundred watercolors, drawings, sketchbooks, and graphic artworks, as well as numerous letters, documents, and photographs. The focus is on Nussbaum’s main creative period between 1903 and 1933.
The works have significantly expanded the small number of Nussbaum paintings already in our holdings, some of which we received as donations or acquired with the support of the Friends and Patrons of the Jewish Museum. In 2018, a selection of sketchbooks and documents was presented at the exhibition Jakob Nussbaum: Frankfurt Impressionist at the Hessenpark Open Air Museum.
Rosy Lilienfeld (1896−1942), a forgotten expressionist
Some years ago, we began collecting and studying the work of the entirely unknown expressionist Rosy Lilienfeld (1896–1942). Lilienfeld was born in Frankfurt in 1896 and was murdered in Auschwitz in 1942. In addition to impressive cityscapes from the 1920s, she created important illustrations for the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe, Joseph Roth, Franz Kafka, and Gottfried Keller. Also noteworthy is her visual engagement with Hasidic and kabbalist narratives, including those by Yitzhak Leib Peretz and Martin Buber.
Samson (Fritz) Schames (1898 − 1967), exile artist from Frankfurt
In 1989, the Jewish Museum compiled the first overview of artwork by Samson (Fritz) Schames. Born in Frankfurt in 1898, Schames initially attended the applied arts school in Offenbach but then broke off the program because he was drafted into the army. When the First World War ended, he continued his studies at the Städel Art School, but was forced to leave this program as well for financial reasons. He began earning a living as a stage designer and in 1925 returned to the Städel Art School, where he devoted himself intensively to painting. In 1933, he made preparations to emigrate. After being banned from painting in 1934, he worked as a stage designer for the Cultural League of German Jews until 1938. In 1939, he left Germany for good with his wife.
The 1930 painting "Opernplatz" (Opera Square) presents a view from the building at Opernplatz 10, where Schames’s uncle Ludwig Schames opened the Posen & Schames art dealership in 1895. This gallery later evolved into the famous Ludwig Schames art salon, which focused primarily on the recent movement of German expressionist art.
The painting Rothschild Park – Street in Autumn shows Rothschild Park, the site of Baron Maximilian von Goldschmidt’s mansion, behind a wall that runs diagonally through the image. Samson Schames’s father, Albert Schames, served as the baron’s private secretary. The mansion was confiscated in 1938, three years after the painting was made.
In this video interview, our head of collections, Dr. Eva Atlan, talks about Samson Schames und our 1989 exhibition about this exiled artist.
His first stop in exile was London but in 1948 he continued on to New York, where he died in 1967. Only a few of his paintings from the 1930s have survived, two of which are held in the Jewish Museum’s collection: Opernplatz (1930) and Rothschild Park – Street in Autumn (1935). Both of these works have historical and family significance.
Erna Pinner (1890–1987)
In 2014, Erna Pinner’s heirs donated numerous works from her estate to the Jewish Museum, including around four hundred watercolors, drawings, and prints. Erna Pinner was born in Frankfurt in 1890, and from the 1920s until she was barred from her profession by the Nazis, she was viewed in Germany as an outstanding artist and journalist.
Erna Pinner began her education as an artist at the Städel Art Institute in Frankfurt when she was just sixteen. From 1908 to 1910, she studied under Lovis Corinth in Berlin. In 1911, she moved to Paris and enrolled at the Accadémie Ranson, where she came into contact with the artists Paul Serusier, Felix Valotton, and Maurice Denis, as well as with French symbolism, post-impressionism, and neoclassicism.
In 1919, Pinner met Kasimir Edschmid. Their romantic and artistic relationship, which lasted almost twenty years, gave rise to a large number of joint publications. Pinner’s watercolors and drawings were presented not only at Ludwig Schames’s art gallery in Frankfurt, but also at Alfred Flechtheim’s galleries in Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt. She published the book 'Ich reise durch die Welt' (I’m Traveling the World) in 1931, a kind of journalistic account of the trips she had taken with Kasimir Edschmid in the previous years. Today almost all of the preliminary drawings for the illustrations in this work can be found in our collection.
In 1934, Pinner went into exile in England, where she initially earned a living creating animal illustrations for greeting cards. Thanks to her contact with the director of the London Zoo, she later began a degree program in the natural sciences. She specialized in popular science publications, for which she drew illustrations and later also wrote texts. Her most famous postwar publications are the animal behavior studies Curious Creatures (1951), published in seven languages, and Born Alive (1959). Many of the preliminary drawings for these works can also be found in our collection.