Wolfrum, Kunstverlag

Kunstverlag Wolfrum

Blick in einen Raum mit Tischen, auf denen Bücher aufliegen, Schwarz-Weiß-Foto

other names: Kunsthandlung Wolfrum, Galerie Wolfrum

After the First World War, Marie Wolfrum (1883–1967) purchased Josef Löwy – k. u. k. Hof-Photograph, Kunst- und Verlags-Anstalt founded in 1850 with its inventory, where since 1896 she had trained and later worked as a salesperson and manager. On 2 October 1919 she established the studio as Kunstverlag Wolfrum with the object of trading and publishing artworks. The shop at Burgring 5 in Vienna's 1st district and a branch at Kohlmarkt 4 existed until 1928. The businessman Rudolf Wittig (1881–1958) became a partner in 1919, and Marie Wolfrum was the owner-partner. The premises, which still exist today, in Palais Lobkowitz, Augustinerstraße 10 in the 1st district, were rented in 1925/26 and enlarged and adapted over the years. At the end of 1926, Marie Wolfrum also registered as trading in paintings, sculptures, antiques and carpets, and two years later also added a publishing and retail book business. Her son Herbert Wolfrum (1911–1965) entered the company in 1933 as publisher and soon took over the direction and developed the publishing with his wife Helga Wolfrum, née Rauchenbichler. Composition proceedings were initiated in 1934 at the commercial court in Vienna, which safeguarded the company's continued operation.

After the annexation in 1938, the company was able to continue successfully, with a marked increase in sales from paintings and the publishing activities. Close connections with the NSDAP leadership and affiliated bodies are not evident from the documentation available, but there were business contacts with high-ranking representatives of the Nazi regime, such as the antiquarian and Reich department head of art and cultural affairs Ernst Schulte-Strathaus (1881–1968) in the "Brown House" in Munich. On 2 May 1938, Kunstverlag Wolfrum sent him an oil painting by Rudolf von Alt, Portal of the Church on Nonnberg of unclear provenance, which he purchased for Hitler in 1939. There is also a documented connection with the art dealer Johannes Jantzen from the Bremer Werkschau, who sold art objects purchased from Wolfrum for the "Sonderauftrag Linz" (Linz museum project). From the early 1920s Kunstverlag Wolfrum also had business contacts with the Österreichische Galerie (ÖG), which purchased artworks by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Jakob Alt, Franz Xaver Gruber, Josef Mathias Grassi between 1939 and 1945 and numerous books between 1943 and 1946. The publishing manager Herbert Wolfrum, who had excellent connections with the Vienna gallery and museum scene and became a partner in 1943, was made sole authorized signatory for the company in 1953. His wife Helga Wolfrum became sole Prokurist, after the two had deposed an affidavit with the commercial court in Vienna stating that they had never been members or applicants for membership of the NSDAP. After Rudolf Wittig (1958), Herbert Wolfrum (1965) and Marie Wolfrum (1967) died, their grandchildren continued the company as sole partners.

Of the acquisitions by the ÖG from Kunstverlag Wolfrum, the Art Restitution Advisory Board in 2006 recommended the restitution of the portrait Friedrich Eltz by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller to the legal successors of Vally Honig-Roeren, who had been persecuted and later murdered by the Nazi regime. The sale was initiated in 1940 but only finalized in 1942 in an exchange between the ÖG and Wolfrum. The transfer to the heirs after Honig-Roeren took place in 2023. The restitution of Jakob Alt's Cholera Chapel near Baden, sold in 1939 by Galerie Wolfrum to the ÖG, to the legal successors of Ludwig Neurath was recommended in 2010 and carried out in 2011. Neurath had been obliged to sell the painting in preparation for flight before it was acquired by the ÖG from Marie Wolfrum. Recommendations were made in 2019 for the restitution of the two Waldmüller portraits of Johann and Magdalena Werner to the legal successors of Gertrude Felsövanyi. In 1939 Felsövanyi had left the two works with Anna Seitle, who had been authorized to administer the remaining assets. She subsequently sold the pictures to Kunsthandlung Wolfrum, which sold them to the ÖG. In the same year, the Städtische Sammlungen (now Wien Museum) purchased a bust by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt that might have originally belonged to Gertrude Felsövanyi. In 2012 the Vienna Restitution Commission failed to recommend the restitution of the work, entitled The Strong Smell, as it could not be clearly established that it had been part previously of the Felsövanyi collection.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Gertrude Felsövanyi, 12.4.2019, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Felsoevanyi_Gertrude_2019-04-12.pdf (3.12.2020).
Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Bibliothek der Österreichischen Galerie Belvedere, 15.5.2014, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Bibliothek_Oesterreichische_Galerie_Belvedere_2014-05-15.pdf (3.12.2020).
Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Ludwig Neurath, 22.9.2010, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Neurath_Ludwig_2010-09-22.pdf (3.12.2020).
Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Ludwig Neurath, 20.11.2009, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Neurath_Ludwig_2009-11-20.pdf (3.12.2020).
Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Vally Honig-Roeren, 28.6.2006, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Honig-Roeren_Vally_2006-06-28.pdf (3.12.2020).

13. und 14. Bericht des amtsführenden Stadtrates für Kultur und Wissenschaft über die gemäß dem Gemeinderatsbeschluss vom 29. April 1999 in der Fassung vom 29. April 2011 erfolgte Übereignung von Kunst- und Kulturgegenständen aus den Sammlungen der Museen der Stadt Wien, der Wienbibliothek im Rathaus sowie dem Jüdischen Museum der Stadt Wien vom 17. April 2015 Restitutionsberichte 2012 und 2013), URL: www.wienmuseum.at/fileadmin/user_upload/PDFs/Restitutionsbericht_2012_und_2013.pdf (3.12.2020).

N. N., Zur Gründung der Galerie Wolfrum, URL: www.wolfrum.at/ueber-uns (3.12.2020).

Olga Kronsteiner, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt: Einfalt im höchsten Grade, in: Der Standard, 24.10.2015, www.derstandard.at/story/2000024418263/franz-xaver-messerschmidt-einfalt-im-hoechsten-grade (26.6.2019).

Meike Hopp, Kunsthandel im Nationalsozialismus: Adolf Weinmüller in München und Wien, Köln-Weimar-Wien 2012.

N. N., Ausstellungen der Woche, Kollektivausstellung Felix Heuberger, Hochgebirgslandschaften aus dem Lande Österreich, bis 20.12.1938, in: Die Weltkunst 12 (27.11.1938) 48, 2, URL: doi.org/10.11588/diglit.47947#0200.

N. N., Kleine Anzeigen, in: Die Weltkunst 13 (1.10.1939) 38/39, 5, URL: doi.org/10.11588/diglit.48200#0171.

N. N., Inserat Kunstverlag Wolfrum, in: Die Weltkunst 18 (15.3.1944) 3, 2, URL: doi.org/10.11588/diglit.48237#0014.

N. N., Handelsregister, Amtsgericht Wien, Veränderung, in: Völkischer Beobachter, Wiener Ausgabe, 8.3.1943, 6, URL: anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno?aid=vob&datum=19430308&seite=6 (3.12.2020).

Maria Rennhofer, Biografie Koloman Moser. Ein Genie auf der Suche nach Vollkommenheit, in: belvedere.at, Werkverzeichnisse online, URL: werkverzeichnisse.belvedere.at/groups/koloman-moser-biografie (3.12.2020).

T. H., Malerehepaar Blaas wieder in Wien, in: Das kleine Volksblatt, 8.12.1946, 7, URL: anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno?aid=dkv&datum=19461208&seite=7 (3.12.2020).


Archiv der Österreichischen Galerie Belvedere, Wien, Zl. 158/1934; 351/1939; 352/1939; 190/1942; 225/1942; 127/1945; 486/1947; 350/1948; 702/1963.

BDA-Ausfuhr, Zl. 244/1938, 258/1938, 344/1938, 449/1938, 592/1938, 780/1938, 917/1938, 7752/1938, 8835/1938.
BDA-Archiv, Restitutionsmaterialien, K. 12/1, CACP München 1955-60, M. 7, S. 4; K. 12/2, CACP München-Salzburg Residenz, Rückführung I, M. 1; K. 13, Kunstmuseum Linz I, M. 5d; K. 13/1, Kunstmuseum Linz II, M. 7; K. 30/1, Fotokartei, N–Z, M. 19; K. 54, Gesamtverzeichnis, Kunsthandlung Wolfrum S. 178.

Handelsgericht Wien, Firmenbuch, Handelsregister Wien, Kunstverlag Wolfrum, 132 HRA 9325.

KHM-Archiv, IV 61, NL Josef Löwy; IV 62, NL Firma Wolfrum.

OeStA/AdR, UWK, BMU, 15B1 ÖG 1940-48 bzw. 15B2-B2b 1940-54, K. 150, Zl. 6746-II-6/48; 42808-II-6/48.

Standesamt Pressbaum, Buch-Nr. 135/67.

Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Archiv der Wirtschaftskammer Wien, Gewerbeakt, Marie Wolfrum.

WStLA, Historische Wiener Meldeunterlagen, Meldeauskunft Marie Wolfrum.