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G. Cramer Oude Kunst gallery records, 1873-1998, bulk 1938-1998

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G. Cramer Oude Kunst Gallery Records

Scope and Content of Collection

The archive of the gallery G. Cramer Oude Kunst in The Hague in the Netherlands is a rich resource for the study of the international market in old master paintings from the late 1930s through the end of the 20th century. It contains the gallery's complete business records from 1938 to 1998. Of particular research value is the documentation of the activities under Nazi occupation during WWII, especially correspondence and receipts regarding the gallery's dealings with Nazi agents for Adolf Hitler's museum in Linz. It may be the only uncensored dealer archive documenting the international art market in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Series I consists of 347 boxes of correspondence with major art museums all over the world, but mainly in Europe, the United States, and Canada, numerous art dealers, private collectors, auction houses, conservators, editors of art magazines, and renowned art historians, and also with insurance agencies, transport firms, financial institutions, and lawyers. The letters regard predominantly acquisition, shipment, conservation, and sale of paintings. Frequently they provide commentary on current trends in the international art market, prices, aesthetics, and collecting. Also present are personal exchanges between various members of the Cramer family and friends, especially extensive from the late 1930s until the late 1940s. A portion of the correspondence in the postwar period, continuing well into the 1960s, deals with restitution issues and Nazi business dealings for the museum in Linz.

Series II is the most extensive portion of the archive. It consists of 558 boxes housing the firm's complete financial records dating from the 1920s until 1998. The most substantial portion is comprised of account files and bank statements. Also present are tax records, sales reports, commission books, and insurance records.

Series III consists of 29 boxes predominantly of photographs of paintings and decorative arts, and photographs of the gallery. Also present are photographs received from clients, and x-rays of paintings. This series comprises only a portion of the gallery's vast photo archive, most of which was donated to the Rijksdienst voor Kunsthistorische Dokumentatie (RKD).

Series IV consists of 11 boxes with circa 500 glass plate negatives of art that passed through the gallery during the late 1950s and the 1960s.

Series V. comprises additional prewar and postwar business correspondence of Hugo Cramer, Gustav Cramer, and Hans Max Cramer; personal correspondence and documents concerning the Cramer family; lists of artworks; some financial documents such as invoices, sales agreements, and commission agreements; documents of Hans Max Cramer's dealings with the Association of Art Dealers in the Netherlands, CINOA [International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers'], and the Rotary Club; and various publications, such as annotated auction catalogs, the gallery's sales catalogs, a collection of newspapers and magazines from the time of World War II, and a collection of press clippings.


Organized in five series:
Series I. Correspondence, 1876-1998;
Series II. Financial records, 1920-1998;
Series III. Photographs, undated;
Series IV. Glass plate negatives, undated;
Series V. Miscellaneous papers, 1873-1998.

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