Kolisch, Hermann Emanuel

Hermann Kolisch / Harry Colish


9 May 1909 Vienna – 7 October 2002 New York

Hermann Emanuel Kolisch was the son of the banker Robert Kolisch and his wife Paula, née Löw. His father had a private art collection in the parental apartment at Porzellangasse 9 in Vienna's 9th district. Apart from miniatures, porcelain, bronzes and an ivory collection, there were also numerous paintings by major nineteenth-century artists such as Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Friedrich Gauermann, Josef Danhauser and Peter Fendi. When Robert Kolisch died in 1920, most of the collection was auctioned from May 1921 by Auktionshaus Glückselig & Wärndorfer in Vienna. Hermann Kolisch, who completed his study of law and political science at the University of Vienna in 1932, worked until March 1934 in Kanzlei Hugo Spitzer/Franz Wittenberg and then in the legal department of Vacuum Oil Company A.G. in Vienna, from where he was dismissed in September 1938 on account of his Jewish origins. He is registered as having left for Trieste, Italy, in April 1939. He subsequently escaped to Shanghai, where he remained until May 1941 before emigrating to the USA, changing his name to Harry J. Colish. In 1942 he married Ruth Koretz and worked at Socony Mobil Oil Company Inc. in New York. Before his escape, he had applied to the Zentralstelle für Denkmalschutz (Central Monument Protection Authority) to export his father's artworks. Two were banned from export and their whereabouts today are unknown. The artworks authorized for export and the remaining removal goods never arrived, because the abandoned assets were seized and became the property of the German Reich pursuant to the Eleventh Regulation on the Reich Citizenship Law of 25 November 1941. Although Harry Colish later made a detailed list of the individual items in his removal goods, none of the artworks in the list could be found. He had offered two portfolios with diverse drawings before his flight to the Albertina, which in January 1939 acquired two drawings by Carl Spitzweg and one each by Peter Fendi and Friedrich Gauermann. In October 2013, the Art Restitution Advisory Board recommended their restitution.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Hermann Kolisch, 8.10.2013, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Kolisch_Hermann_2013-10-08.pdf (3.12.2020).

Auktionshaus für Altertümer Glückselig & Wärndorfer (Hg.), Versteigerung von Mobiliar, Skulpturen, Glas, Keramik, Silber, Metallgegenständen, Waffen, einem Gobelin, Teppichen, Graphik und Miniaturen sowie von Gemälden und Miniaturen aus dem Nachlass des Bankiers Robert Kolisch †, erster Teil und anderem Privatbesitz (Leitung: H. O. Miethke, Dr. Haberfeld), Wien 1921 [Auktion: 17.–20., 23.5.1921], URL: doi.org/10.11588/diglit.22358.
Auktionshaus für Altertümer Glückselig & Wärndorfer (Hg.), Versteigerung von Gemälden, Miniaturen und Handzeichnungen aus dem Nachlass des Börsenrates Robert Kolisch †, zweiter Teil, und aus anderem Privatbesitz (Leitung: H. O. Miethke, Dr. Hugo Haberfeld), von Mobiliar, Textilien, Spitzen, Porzellan, Keramik, Metallgegenständen, Waffen und Teppichen aus dem Nachlass des Hofarchitekten Bartelmus †, erster Teil, und aus anderem Privatbesitz , Wien 1921 [Auktion: 7.–10.11.1921], URL: doi.org/10.11588/diglit.15751.


BDA-Ausfuhr, Zl. 8075/1938, Hermann Kolisch.
BDA-Archiv, Historische Materialien, Wohnungsanforderungen, M. Wien IX, Zl. 51/1921.

Leo Baeck Institute New York, Collection Harry Colish AR 6888.

OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, Hilfsfonds, Abgeltungsfonds 3330, Harry J. Colish.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, Hilfsfonds, Alter Hilfsfonds, 19.759, Harry J. Colish.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, Hilfsfonds, Neuer Hilfsfonds,15.836, Harry J. Colish.

WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Hermann Kolisch.