Adolph Menzel, Borussia (Detail of the back), 1868 © DHM


The Hidden History of a Painting by Adolph Menzel

13 September 2018 to 3 February 2019

A curatorial intervention in the permanent exhibition

Museum objects not only convey history, they also have their own. However, their history often remains hidden. It is the job of provenance research to investigate these histories. It documents the many stages of an object’s journey on its way from the artist’s studio to the museum.

The painting "Borussia" by Adolph Menzel provides a prime example of the almost seamless biography of an object. What are the clues present on the artwork itself which provenance research can follow up on? What does the back of a painting reveal and what part of its history does it disclose? What are the potential consequences of the findings of provenance research?

The curatorial intervention provides us with a look behind the scenes of provenance research. In view of the ongoing debate about how to deal with the Nazi-looted art, it shows at the same time the change in the judicial and moral viewpoints from 1945 to the "Washington Conference Principles" in 1998.

Flyer to the exhibition
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View into the exhibition

Guided tours in German

Tour with the curators

Meeting point: Zeughaus
Free admission

03.10.2018, 6 pm
Tobias Schlage, Deutsches Historisches Museum

28.11.2018, 6 pm
Susan Geißler and Darja Jesse, Deutsches Historisches Museum

Additional tours are optional bookable:

Tour booking
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Fax +49 30 20304-750/-759

Opening hours

daily 10 am to 6 pm


Free up to 18 years
€ 8, reduced € 4

More information

Tour booking

Permanent exhibition
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Special exhibitions
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In the museum

Buchhandlung Walther König
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All entrances are wheelchair accessible

Public transport

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Französische Straße, Friedrichstraße, Hausvogteiplatz

100, 200, TXL Staatsoper or Lustgarten

Underground car park below Bebelplatz
City Quartier Dom Aquarée


Deutsches Historisches Museum

Unter den Linden 2
10117 Berlin

Tel. +49 30 20304-0