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Venus Anadyomene

Arnold Böcklin, Swiss (active Germany), 1827–1901
Oil on panel
Made in
Germany, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 242
23 1/4 x 18 in. (59.1 x 45.7 cm)
framed: 33 1/4 x 28 3/16 x 3 5/8 in. (84.5 x 71.6 x 9.2 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase and funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Lester A. Crancer Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Stephen F. Brauer, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence E. Langsam, an Anonymous Friend, and Mr. and Mrs. Christian B. Peper
Public Domain
Object Number
The newborn Venus, ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty, rises from the waves on the back of a sea monster. Cupids with butterfly wings clothe her in sea foam and crown her with a wreath. The Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin worked in Germany intermittently throughout his career, spending several years in Munich. His light, frothy brushwork and imaginative depictions of mythology made him one of Germany’s most popular painters. Böcklin’s success inspired younger German artists to paint scenes from ancient Greek and Roman mythology.
Private Collection, Vienna, Austria [1]

- 1886
Fritz Gurlitt, Berlin, Germany

1886 - 1925
Eduard Arnhold (1849-1925), Berlin, Germany; Villa Bellagio, Fiesole, Italy, purchased from Fritz Gurlitt [2]

Else Arnhold-Kunheim (1883-1952), Villa Bellagio, Fiesole, Italy, by inheritance from Eduard Arnhold [3]

1925 - still in 1983
Erika Kunheim-Gericke (1905-1986) and Dr. Herbert Gericke (1895-1987), Villa Bellagio, Fiesole, Italy; Villa Massimo, Rome, Italy, gift of Else Arnhold-Kunheim [4]

c.1986 - 1993
Rolf and Margit Weinberg, Zurich, Switzerland [5]

Margo Pollins Schab, Inc., New York, NY, USA, acquired from Rolf and Margit Weinberg [6]

1993 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Margo Pollins Schab, Inc. [7]

The main source for this provenance is the bill of sale from Margo Pollins Schab, Inc., dated April 19, 1993 [SLAM document files]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] The bill of sale from Margo Pollins Schab, Inc. indicates that the painting once belonged to an "N.N." in Vienna.

[2] This painting is reproduced in an 1893 article, as from Eduard Arnhold's collection [Gurlitt, Cornelius. "Arnold Böcklin." "Die Kunst für alle" IX (October 15, 1893): p. 18]. Arnhold was an avid art collector in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and was one of the first promoters of Böcklin. In 1902, the wealthy Berlin industrialist acquired the artist's residence, the Villa Bellagio in Fiesole (near Florence), from Böcklin's heirs [notes of telephone conversation between Dr. h.c. Hans Holenweg and SLAM provenance researcher Anabelle Kienle, April 5, 2004, SLAM document files]. In 1910, Arnhold founded and built the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome which allowed young German artists to go abroad on a fellowship which included room, studio and full-board.

[3] Upon Eduard Arnhold's death in 1925, his adopted daughter Else Arnhold-Kunheim presented the Villa Bellagio to her daughter Erika Kunheim and her husband Dr. Herbert Gericke as a wedding gift.

[4] See note [3]. Dr. Gericke followed in Eduard Arnhold's footsteps and became the director of the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome. From 1976 until 1983, Gericke lent the painting to the Kunstmuseum Basel [notes of telephone conversation between Dr. Hartwig Fischer, curator, Kunstmuseum Basel, and SLAM provenance researcher Anabelle Kienle, April 2, 2004, SLAM document files]. This is supported by a label from the Kunstmuseum Basel on the reverse of the painting which indicates the lender as Gericke. Additionally, a 1977 Kunstmuseum Basel exhibition catalogue which includes this painting lists the lender as an Italian private collection ["Arnold Böcklin 1827-1901: Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Plastiken." Kunstmuseum Basel: Schwabe & Co. Verlag, 1977, cat. 121].

[5] Rolf Weinberg confirmed that he once owned the painting "for 6 or 7 years," and transferred it to Margo Schab, in exchange for a different painting in 1993 [notes of telephone conversation between Rolf Weinberg and Emmeline Erikson at the Saint Louis Art Museum, April 6, 2006, SLAM document files].

[6] Margo Schab of Margo Pollins Schab, Inc. confirmed that she acquired the painting directly from the Weinberg's [notes of telephone conversation between Margo Schab and Emmeline Erikson at the Saint Louis Art Museum, November 17, 2005, SLAM document files]. The Weinberg's had an important collection of paintings which ranged from old Masters to the early 20th century.

[7] Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, April 22, 1993.
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