Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt am Main

Art Collection

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Art Collection

The Jewish Museum's art collection has been established and developed entirely after the museum was founded since, in contrast to the Collection of Ceremonial Art, the art collection had no original foundation on which to build.

The museum's art collection has various priority areas. The collection contains, for example, some outstanding 19th-century paintings, including works by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (1800–1882), the first unconverted Jewish artist to be trained at a state art academy. During his training and in the years afterwards, Oppenheim not only spent time in Munich and Paris, but also in Rome where he belonged to the circle of Nazarene artists around Friedrich Overbeck.

Initially, his subjects were primarily religious. However, in 1825 after he had returned to Frankfurt, he started to make a name for himself as a portrait painter.

Oppenheim painted numerous portraits of figures in the Jewish community, particularly of the Rothschild family, and became the artist of the emancipated Jewish bourgeoisie.

The permanent collection also includes the portraits of Hanna Baer (1773–1843) and her husband Joseph Baer (1767–1851), acquired in 2004. Joseph Baer founded the Frankfurt business Joseph Baer & Co. which became a major antiquarian bookseller and bookshop.

Eduard Bendemann: By the Waters of Babylon (The Mourning Jews in Exile) (after 1832), oil on canvas, 71 x 103 cm

Eduard Bendemann: By the Waters of Babylon (The Mourning Jews in Exile) (after 1832), oil on canvas, 71 x 103 cm

Art works from the period before 1933 form another main area of the collection. The permanent exhibition includes, for instance, a canvas painted on both sides with the works Kain fliehend (Cain fleeing) (c. 1912) / Schnapsschänke (Liquor tavern) (1920) by the well-know expressionist artist Jakob Steinhardt (1887–1968).

However, the collection is also especially designed to raise public awareness of those artists who were defamed and driven into exile, and are now largely forgotten. Such figures include the two Frankfurt artists Hanns Ludwig Katz (1892–1940), a second generation German Expressionist painter, as well as Samson Fritz Schames (1898–1967) forced into exile in 1938 after the Night of Broken Glass, and only able to take a few of his paintings with him.

Thanks to a number of acquisitions by the museum and generous donations from Edith Schames, the artist's widow, it is now possible to show changing works from different phases of Schames' oeuvre in the permanent exhibition.

Prints + Drawings

Jakob Nussbaum: Tiberias, Mosque, etching, 24 x 31.3 cm

Jakob Nussbaum: Tiberias, Mosque, etching, 24 x 31.3 cm

In 2007, a donation by Akademie der Künste Berlin provided the museum with a further group of 40 etchings from different series by the artist Lea Grundig (1906–1977). Since the works primarily date from 1934 to 1936, they offer the perspective of a Jewish artist and committed communist on the emergence and increasing dominance of National Socialism.

Both the Collection of Paintings and the Collection of Prints and Drawings are being gradually expanded; one aim in this process is to enlarge the collections' holding of art works from the second half of the twentieth century.

Calendar of events
July 2018 zurück weiter
* Jewish feasts

Art Collection

Dr. Eva Atlan
Phone: +49 (0)69 212 33329

Jüdisches Museum
Untermainkai 14/15
60311 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 (0)69 212 35000
Fax: +49 (0)69 212 30705


Prof. Dr. Raphael Gross
Director of the Jüdisches Museum and
Secretary of the Commission for the
Research into Frankfurt's Jewish History
Phone: +49 (0)69 212 38805

Michael Lenarz
Deputy Director, Archives
and Library Department
Phone: +49 (0)69 212 38546

Fritz Backhaus
Deputy Director, Museum
Judengasse / Börnegalerie,
Phone: +49 (0)69 212 38804

Daniela Unger
Director's Office / Public Relations
Phone: +49 (0)69 212 38805

Other Staff Members

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© ® 1999-2018 Jüdisches Museum
Frankfurt am Main
Last change: 2016, September 12

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