The Collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild

28 January – 4 June 2023

Current information:

As part of the exhibition The Collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild, the following security measures have been introduced at the Museum Angewandte Kunst since January 9, 2023: Video surveillance has been installed on the 1st floor in the exhibition rooms. At the museum entrance there is a bag check as well as a body scanner. We ask for your understanding!

Due to renovation works, the museum will be closed from January 23 to January 27, 2023, 7 pm. It will reopen for the opening of the exhibition The Collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild on January 27 at 7 pm.

The collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild by the Museum Angewandte Kunst is the first exhibition dedicated to the private collector and patron, and his former art collection. Its history mirrors the life of its owner who was persecuted as a Jew under National Socialism. Hence the exhibition focuses on the sale of the collection to the city of Frankfurt am Main due to Nazi persecution in 1938, the subsequent transfer of the artisanal pieces in the collection to the Museum für Kunsthandwerk (today Museum Angewandte Kunst), and the return of a large part of the collection to its rightful heirs after the Second World War.

View of a private room of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild in the Rothschild Palace with parts of his collection, a few days after the Nazi persecution-related sale of the art collection to the City of Frankfurt. November, 1938 © Museum Angewandte Kunst

Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild was the only person of Jewish origin to be ennobled as a Prussian baron by Emperor Wilhelm II. He was able to combine professional success, education and philanthropic commitment. As a passionate art collector, he was in contact with museum directors and art dealers all over Europe. In the early 20th century, his private accumulation of over 1500 objects was regarded as one of the most important collections in Germany.

In 1938, National Socialist persecution forced him to sell not only the collection, but also his residence, the Rothschild Palais, to the city of Frankfurt. The palais, and with it, the artisanal part of the collection became the Museum für Kunsthandwerk II. The Städel Museum received the collection’s paintings, and the Liebieghaus took over the sculptures. This purchase by the city of Frankfurt was probably the most sensational case of art and property acquisition in Frankfurt during the Nazi Era.

Initially the city of Frankfurt and the museum directors, who had remained in charge even after National Socialism, vehemently resisted the heirs’ request for the restitution of the collection after 1945. In early 1949, the museums finally returned a large part of the art objects over the course of a settlement between the heirs and the city of Frankfurt. In 1950, numerous objects were sold at two big auctions in New York and were subsequently scattered across museums and private collections all over the world by American art dealers. To this day, the origin of the former Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild Collection lends a special provenance value to these objects.

The collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild is the museum’s most elaborate exhibition both in terms of development and realisation. The collection and its story are mirrored in the history of the Museum Angewandte Kunst. The latest results from the provenience research conducted at the museum provide the basis for a critical inspection of the institution’s own history. On that score, the exhibition presents and scrutinises objects that are still part of the museum’s inventory.

Select international loans from renowned museums and private collections enhance the presentation: rare Medieval relics, valuable pieces of early modern craftwork (receptacles, silver chalices, utensils, sculptures, majolica, enamelled glass, porcelain, miniatures, and snuffboxes), but also exquisite paintings by old masters as well as Louis XV furniture. The contextualisation of the art objects and the history of the collection in the tension field between “gap” and “reconstruction” is the aesthetic starting point. For Frankfurt am Main, this historically (and culturally) charged exhibition has great (art) historical relevance. It is also the first endeavour to establish the contemporary global connections between the exhibits to their provenance.

Hippocamp as drinking vessel, silver gilt around 1590-1600 © Los Angeles County Museum of Art

To underscore the process of laying the foundation stone for a path of remembrance into the future, a multimedia app (iOS / Android) was developed. Visitors can use virtual and auditive elements as well as augmented reality to reconstruct parts of the history of Maximilian Goldschmidt-Rothschild’s collection and to project additional information into the museum of today.

Curators: Dr. Katharina Weiler, Prof. Matthias Wagner K

Voucher for concert, guided tour including admission, welcome drink

January 28 and February 26, 2023, 3–6 pm
Concerts in the context of the exhibition The Collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild with the Mara Ensemble

Since its foundation 10 years ago, the Frankfurt Mara Ensemble has been giving concerts mainly in the Rhine-Main area. The ensemble performs in changing formations and thus has the opportunity to work on works ranging from string duo to piano quintet. In addition to classical and romantic programmes, the ensemble also focuses on works of the 20th century. The musicians – Cornelia Ilg: violin, Pilar Carvajal: viola, Stefanie Mehnert: violoncello – also play in orchestras such as the HR Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Opera and the New Philharmonic Orchestra Frankfurt.

From Tuesday, 6 December 2022, voucher tickets can be purchased for 30 EUR at the museum box office.


Without registration. Included in the admission price.

With Andrea Strehl, curatorial assistant of the exhibition.

More information about the exhibition.

3 pm: Guided tour of the exhibition
4 pm: Welcome drink
4.30 pm: Concert by the Mara Ensemble.

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office. Price for admission to the museum, guided tour of the exhibition, welcome drink and concert is 30 EUR.

The number of participants is limited.

More information about the exhibition.

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