Kneisel, Eduard

Eduard Kneisel


29 March 1900 Vienna – March 1981 New York
also Edward Kneisel

Eduard Kneisel attended the school of painting under Hans Tichy at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna from 1917 to 1920. Afterwards he worked - like his father - as a customs official at the shipping company Schenker & Co. Through this company he established contacts with the Coty company in Paris. In the perfume and cosmetics company, founded in 1904 and still in existence today, he initially worked in a commercial capacity and later in advertising. Back in Vienna, Kneisel trained further with Robert Eigenberger at the Academy of Fine Arts' Master School for Conservation and Technology from 1934 to 1936. From the fall of 1936, he was a contract employee in the conservation department of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM). In the course of the Viennese salvage measures to protect art and cultural objects from imminent war damage, which began in the summer of 1939, he took care of the objects from the KHM and the Central Depot for Seized Collections that had been moved to Steinbach near Göstling. In March 1940, Kajetan Mühlmann, the special representative for the art and cultural assets of the General Government in Krakow, requested Eduard Kneisel as a restorer. Thus Kneisel, who joined the NSDAP in October 1940, was to play an essential role in the care of the looted Polish cultural assets. At the end of July 1944, Kneisel was arrested in Krakow for "defeatist statements" and was transferred to Berlin to the "house prison" of the Reich Security Main Office in August. Hans Frank as Governor General of Krakow pardoned him, probably also because he still needed his restoration skills. Thus, Kneisel took care of the expropriated Polish works of art, initially at the Sichów salvage site in Poland. Among them was the Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael from the collection of Augustyn Józef Czartoryski, now considered lost. In January 1945, he accompanied the removal of the works of art to Neuhaus in Bavaria. Kneisel received his salary from the Department for the Promotion of the Arts, State Theaters, Museums and Public Education at the Reich Governor's Office in Vienna until March 1945. From February 1945, Kneisel lived with his mother and sister in the Tyrolean Zillertal until July 1946, since his apartment in Vienna had been bombed out, and later emigrated to the USA, where his brother Karl had already been living as an art dealer since 1923. He worked as a freelancer at the restoration department of the Frick Collection in New York City and died in New York in 1961.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Morwenna Blewett, Restoring for the Reich. Commercial and Institutional Restorers in Service of the Nazi Kleptocracy, in: Art, Antiquity and Law 2 (2007) 1, 17–27.

Morwenna Blewett, Restorers in the Service of the Nazi Kleptocracy. A Case Study from the Sequestrations of the Dienststelle Mühlmann, in: Ruth Heftrig/Olaf Peters/Barbara Schellewald (Hg.), Kunstgeschichte im "Dritten Reich". Theorien. Methoden, Praktiken, Berlin 2008, 393–404.

Rikke Foulke, The Cradle and its Makers, in: AIC Paintings Speciality Group Postprints, Papers Presented at the Thirty-fifth Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, Richmond, Virginia April 16 - 20, 2007, compiled by Helen Mar Parkin, 20 (2008), 8–14, URL: (14.2.2023).

J. Robert Kudelski , Portrait of a Young Man – the story of a lost painting, URL: (17.10.2022).

Isabel Röskau-Rydel, NS-Kunst und Kulturpolitik in Krakau unter Deutscher Besatzung am Beispiel von Museen und Ausstellungen 1939–1945, in: Tanja Baensch/Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier/Dorothee Wimmer (Hg.), Museen im Nationalsozialismus: Akteure – Orte – Politik, Köln-Weimar-Wien 2016, 191–202.


BArch Berlin, R/9361/II – 536362; R 3017/41249.

Frick Collection, Archive, hourly sheet Kneisel.

KHM-Archiv, 145/KL/1939, 73/KL/1940, 67/ED/1944.

KHM, Gemäldegalerie, oZ23/GG/1938; 9/GG/1946; Korrespondenz 1952.

NARA, Ardelia Hall Collection, URL:;;;; (23.2.2023).

OeStA/AdR, UWK, BMU, Personalakten 08/106, Eduard Kneisel.
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Gauakt 254.713, Eduard Kneisel.

UAAbKW, Studienakt Nr. 78 und Nr. 1322N, Eduard Kneisel.

WStLA, Gauakten, A1, Personalakten des Gaues Wien, Eduard Kneisel.