Mayer, Robert Max Rudolf

Robert Mayer


7 January 1873 Vienna – 14 May 1973 Vienna

from 1908 Robert Mayer-Szlámka (adoption)

Little is known about the entrepreneur and art collector Robert Max Rudolf Mayer. He was born in 1873 to the silk trader Rudolf Julius Mayer and his wife Frau Louise Mayer, née Friedmann, in Vienna. His mother was Catholic, and he was baptized at the Reformed Stadtkirche in the 1st district. His paternal grandfather Gabriel Salomon Kohn-Mayer converted in 1830 at the age of twenty-three from Judaism to the Helvetic Confession. Following his adoption by the Hungarian Karl Szlámka from Pozsony/Pressburg, from 1908 he had the double-barrelled name Mayer-Szlámka, as noted in the entry in the baptismal register. He married Amalie, née Wanjek (1877–1944) and had three children: Robert, born 1910, Herbert, born 1911, and Felicitas, born 1914. He was manager of A. & R. Mayer at Apollogasse 7 in the 7th district, which dealt in yarn for textile production and was founded in 1830 as G. K. Mayer. In 1936 he loaned objects for the exhibition Kleinkunst der italienischen Frührenaissance (Minor Art in the Early Italian Renaissance) at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) in Vienna. It is not known when he started the collection of bronzes and applied art objects or where the objects came from. Max Allmayer-Beck, president of the Verein der Museumsfreunde in Vienna, described Robert Mayer in 1955 as the "last in the great generation of Viennese collections of the caliber of Figdor, Bondy, Lederer, Auspitz".

After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, Mayer, who was not sure whether he was considered a Jew or a "Mischling" by the Nazi laws, submitted an asset declaration listing seventy-eight objects in the collection. He added that he had left A. & R. Mayer in April 1938 and donated his apartment building to his "Aryan" daughter Felicitas. In a letter to the Vermögensverkehrsstelle (Property Transaction Office) on 12 November 1938 he stated that the collection valued by Eugen Primavesi at over 114,000 Reichsmarks had been acquired by his wife and himself, which they owned equally. During the systematic provenance research at the KHM no indication was found that their collection had been secured, seized or expropriated or been subject to restitution after 1945. The Art Restitution Advisory Board therefore decided in 2014 that the ten objects (eight bronzes, two wooden figures) acquired by the KHM between 1952 and 1960 from Robert Mayer's collection should not be restituted.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Robert Mayer, 26.9.2014, URL: (3.12.2020).

Betty Brandeis, Ausstellung im Kunsthistorischen Museum, in: Der Morgen. Wiener Morgenblatt, 22.6.1936, 8, URL: (3.12.2020).

Anna L. Staudacher, Jüdische Konvertiten in Wien 1782–1868, Frankfurt am Main-Berlin-Wien u. a. 2002.
Anna L. Staudacher, Jüdisch-protestantische Konvertiten in Wien 1782–1914, Frankfurt am Main-Berlin-Wien u. a. 2004.


BDA-Ausfuhr, Zl. 2896/1953, Robert Mayer.
BDA-Ausfuhr, Zl. 557/1954, Robert Mayer.
BDA-Ausfuhr, Zl. 6341/1957, Robert Mayer.

KHM, Kunstkammer, 20/PL/1952; 62/PL/1953; 8/PL/1954; 20/PL/1955; 80/PL/1958; 15/PL/1960.
KHM-Archiv, 166/VK/1952; 55/VK/1954; 541/VK/1955;

OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, VA 1917, Amalie Mayer
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, VA 1930, Robert Mayer.

Taufbuch der reformierten Stadtkirche 1869–1875, Eintrag Robert Max Rudolf Mayer, 26.1.1873 , 135, URL: (3.12.2020).

WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Robert Mayer.
WStLA, M.Abt. 119, A41, VEAV 333, 1. Bez., Robert Mayer.

NARA, German External Assets (GEA) Branch, Reparations, Deliveries, and Restitutions (R. D. & R.) Division, U.S. Allied Commission, Austria (USACA), Report, 5.10.1948, URL: (3.12.2020).