The exhibition at the Akademie der Künste vividly tells the history of ownership of selected works of art from the holdings of the Akademie der Künste archive. These include manuscripts by the philosopher Walter Benjamin, the collection of the art critic Alfred Kerr confiscated by the Gestapo, a sketchbook from the estate of Max Liebermann, oil sketches by Carl Blechen that were thought to be lost, and the private collection of paintings by Otto Nagel.

Exhibition graphics

Provenance research goes beyond the clarification of ownership and the reparation of historical injustice: it enables a new perspective on well-known works by revealing surprising research findings about their origins.

The exhibition uses selected examples to show the methods of provenance research and tells the stories behind the works. It also discusses how the results influence the academy and how complex the decision-making process is in the case of encumbered objects.

The exhibition graphics make the complex exhibition accessible. A bright green is used as a strongly guiding color that leads through the exhibition.


In the design, we have taken up the story of the painting “The Black Pierrot” by Fritz Erler: He had painted over the picture of a martial fencer himself after much criticism, the original was long considered lost and was only rediscovered through contemporary provenance research. In addition to the exhibition media, we have also designed a publication describing examples from the exhibition.