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Wilhelm Arntz collection of rare exhibition catalogs and printed ephemera, approximately 1900-1985

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Arntz (Wilhelm) collection of rare exhibition catalogs and printed ephemera

Biographical / Historical

Wilhelm Friedrich Arntz (1903-1985) was a German lawyer, art expert and independent researcher of 20th century art. He was also one of the early collectors of German Expressionism. Parallel to collecting artworks, he acquired publications on art and compiled a wealth of archival material, including newspaper clippings, correspondence of artists, art historians and dealers, and ephemeral items such as invitations to exhibition openings.

Arntz began his professional career in the 1930s as the political editor for the newspaper Frankurter Generalanzeiger. He was then hired as a foreign correspondent for the HUCK-Verband, a major German newspaper trust in London in the 1930s. After the war Arntz worked as head of the department of cultural affairs (Kulturreferat) in Stuttgart. In 1947, together with Robert Norman Ketterer, he founded the auction house Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett where he worked until the mid 1950s as a consultant and expert on 20th century art. Subsequently, he worked until 1978 for the auction house Kunsthaus Lempertz in Cologne. At the same time, he served as an expert on forgery in various legal proceedings. As a lawyer he was also involved in cases concerning property law and restitution of artwork confiscated by the Nazis, as well as insurance, tax matters, copyright law, and protection of cultural patrimony.

His collection of books, printed ephemera and archival material, known as the Kunstarchiv Arntz, kept in his private home in Haag, in Bavaria, served as the source of information for his various professional activities. With certain limitations, he made his collection available to the public and allowed students and colleagues to conduct research in his home.

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