Van Gogh - Usine
Van Gogh - Usine


Free Admission

Art on the run

1940. A coleção Weinberg no MNAC | 16 OUT | 18h00

Curatorship: Maria Aires Silveira

Lecture on 16 October, 6 p.m.  by Inês Brandão Fialho the MNAC-MC

I - A true story

The National Museum of Contemporary Art in 1940, collected and salvaged an important set of 10 works of Impressionist authors (Courbet, Corot, Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat, Pissarro, Gauguin, Renoir and Van Gogh) at the request of their collectors: Wilhelm Weinberg and Marianne Goldshmidt-Rothschild. That same year, in November, Diogo de Macedo, who has unveiled the case in May, published, in Ocidente revue, the small collection of great artists from the core of Wilhelm Weinberg collection and questioned the museum's director, Adriano Sousa Lopes, if it "would not be appropriated, with the autumn tickling the emotions of the artists who have the borders closed for their
wonderment, to expose these works? "

II - In 1940, despite the preparations for the Portuguese World Exhibition, one of the ideological underpinnings of the Portuguese dictatorship, Lisbon was stage of an unusual movement. At the crossroads of the circulation of refugees from World War II, Lisbon was an important meeting place for spies from both sides, given the neutral character of the country. In Europe a scenario of war was being drawn with the Nazi occupation of Denmark and Norway in April, and, of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg in May. Wilhelm Weinberg, banker and art collector residing in Amsterdam - Keizersgracht, near one of the main canals of the city, identified himself as a businessman in the area of the Stock Exchange of Amsterdam - 44260 Effectenbeurs. In the letter addressed to the director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Portugal (MNAC-MC File. Wilhelm Weinberg Correspondence received, 1940, issued on 14 February) W. Weinberg shows his concern for the preservation of the art works belonging to his collection and sought the protection of the museum, even though, at that time he did not believe in the threat of invasion of the Netherlands.

III - Everything had happened as planned and an interesting group of works of Impressionist authors has been deposited in the National Museum of Contemporary Art. After release from the Ministry of Education, W. Weinberg intended to send his "small collection of French Impressionists" by plane, thus avoiding the risks of transport by sea or train (Archive MNAC-MC. Wilhelm Weinberg. Correspondence received, 1940, issued 12th April). On the same date, Weinberg himself, asked that same procedure was to be done for a work by Van Gogh, belonging to Baroness Marianne Goldschmidt-Rothschild (one of the most important Jewish families persecuted by Nazi Germany) residing in Paris. As a precaution, W. Weinberg organized 3 sets of works, but it seems that only 2 transports took place, probably because the initial plan had to be changed due to the gravity of the situation they lived in Holland.

IV - Diogo de Macedo analyzed and assessed the works of the Impressionists authors, deposited in the National Museum of Contemporary Art in 1940, and expressed his belief in the Occidente magazine, insisting on carrying out an exhibition that would be important "to the culture of young painters here, with the condition of not being contaminated by weakness of imitation. "In this issue of that journal, in November, Macedo was carrying out an assessment of all paintings: those of Courbet, "rich truth (...) and contrast"; the screen "poetic and rigorous" Corot; Toulouse-Lautrec was, in his opinion, a "crazy portraiture"; considered the number of Seurat, "vibrating brush strokes for added hint of light"; valued "Luminous Landscape" Pissarro; point in that Gauguin was "chief of a exotic aesthetic"; described a female portrait by Renoir in "fine Japanese porcelain tone"; stated in Van-Gogh's "nervous and shreds strokes (...) Daring chapoeiradas of strong reds, blacks and vivid yellows, contrasting with cuttlefish and green." In December 1940, Diogo de Macedo regretted not having been exposed to these "foreign personnel" who went to America.

V - Wilhelm Weinberg lived a dramatic trajectory that accompanied the political and strategic map of Europe. Several questions arise, from his Jewish origins, his family tragedy, how he met the Baroness Goldshmidt-Rothschild, his trip to Portugal and the visa obtained, the fact that his works of art have not been shown in Portugal, the unknown location of parts of his collection... Here we focus on a problem of safeguarding paintings, an important set of the most valuable pieces ever passed by a Portuguese museum. It is a particularly engaging case in the context of war, which will be analyzed by the researcher Inês Brandão Fialho. She prepares her PhD in Ireland, National University of Ireland, under the theme Nazi-era provenance and the English art market 1933-45. In this context, she wrote an article about the safeguarding of collections of art museums by the Portuguese during the Second World War, due to be published in Collecting and exhibitions in Portugal, published by Ashgate Press, coordination by Nandia Vlachou. She made a lecture on this subject in Ireland, National University of Ireland, and Edinburgh, at the invitation of the Royal Society of Arts Scotland.

Maria de Aires Silveira.


    2014-10-16 18h00
    1940. A coleção Weinberg no MNAC. Palestra por Inês Fialho Brandão
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