Was Kimbell Statue Hiding a Sordid History?

July 7th, 2011 | 11:22 am

Museum historian Nancy Edwards, left, and author Robert Edsel were both instrumental in determining the history of a bust of Isabella d’Este at the Kimbell Art Museum. The bust was found among articles collected by Adolf Hitler.  Star-Telegram / Ron T. Ennis

Robert Edsel, Nancy Edwards and the Kimbell Museum were instrumental in determining the provenance history behind a bust that is on display at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.  The article that appeared in the Fort Worth Star Telegram explains how Robert became aware that this bust was in a salt mine at Alt Aussee during and after World War II due to Adolf Hitler’s desire to own it and its incredible travels from auction houses in Europe and America and eventually settle in Fort Worth.

To read the full article as it appeared in the newspaper, click here: Fort Worth Star Telegram – Mystery Woman

To read the full article as it appears on their website, click here: DFW.com – Was Kimbell Statue Hiding a Sordid Sales History?

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3 Responses to “Was Kimbell Statue Hiding a Sordid History?”

  1. J. Choate says:

    Ms. Edwards,
    I would like to contact you and Robert Edsel, to see if you might be able to, and be interested in, giving me any ideas about whom I might contact to find info about the hornmaker Ed Kruspe of Erfurt, Germany. His family before and after him made French horns. Their “factory” was sold not too long ago to non-Kruspes, who now make horns in the factory.
    My interest is in a horn that was made probably in the early ’30’s, and whose markings show that it was one of the horns used by Nazi bands. I think the markings might have been added after Kruspe made the horn, but I’m not sure. I’d like to know, if possible, the name of the man who played the horn in the Nazi band and how he came by it. Was the horn one of a lot ordered by the Nazis for their use, or was it made for one man and later used in the Nazi band? I’d also like to see if I can find out what the Kruspes’ personal situation was during the Nazi buildup years and during WWI and II. They did keep on making horns then.
    Would you or Mr. Edsel be able to give me a start on where I might look for such info? Surely there must be records in Germany about instrument makers and their instruments during that period but, not having a background in German or things German, and not being a lover of computers (and so, not skilled in getting around on them to ferret out sources), I need a little help to get started looking.
    Any interest and time to give me an idea or two about where I might start? If so, I’ll appreciate it greatly. Thank you.
    I’m e-mailing you because I don’t know how to contact R. Edsel in a way that I’m sure he’d get a letter or e-mail. I will also look now, to see about trying that, though.
    I read his book Monuments Men, and am aware that his and your focus is the visual arts, but I’m hoping that one of you might have some glimmer about what I’m wanting to hunt out in a related area.
    Again, thanks.
    Afterthought — Yes, I’ve checked with several horn players but, while hornists love playing horns, are interested in recent lines of ownership, and technical tinkering with horns, they aren’t interested in the personal side of a horn maker’s history or the social history. So I’ve tapped that possible source for info.

  2. J. Choate

    Thank you for sending us your inquiry. Unfortunately, we can’t help specifiably but we can point you in the right direction. There are two possible places for you to look towards (see below). I do hope you find what you are looking for.


    Federal Archive for Military and WWII Documents in Freiburg Germany
    Wiesentalstraße 10
    79115 Freiburg
    Telefon: +49 761/47817-0
    Fax: +49 761/47817-900
    E-Mail: militaerarchiv@bundesarchiv.de[mailto:militaerarchiv@bundesarchiv.de]
    Archive Services
    Telefon: +49 761/47817-864

    Opening hours

    Mo. – Thu.: 08:00 – 18:00
    Fr.: 08:00 – 16:00


    ED. Kruspe


    For further information regarding our traditional enterprise and our unique brass instruments, please do not hesitate to contact us.
    ED. Kruspe
    Am Schunkenhofe 5
    99848 Wutha – Farnroda
    Tel.: + 49 (0) 36921 / 96733
    Fax: + 49 (0) 36921 / 30207
    Please use this eMail-address.

    The History of

    Here at ED. Kruspe, high quality brass instruments have been carefully made for more than 160 years.
    The name Kruspe is mentioned in the prerogatives of the town of Erfurt as far back as 1530.
    In 1833 Karl Kruspe took over the Erfurt workshop of the master to whom he had been apprenticed, the instrument maker Karl Zielsdorf.
    Together with his two sons Eduard and Friedrich, Karl Kruspe established the special workshop for brass instruments that was later to become world famouse.
    In 1864, Eduard Kruspe became the proprietor of his father’s workshop.

    Eduard Kruspe* 1864: Taking over the company, which was first founded in 1833 from Carl Zielsdorf

    * 1893: Eduard Kruspe retires from the daily business and his son Fritz takes over the company. Further on Eduard is still attached to the business and keeps his development work for new models up.

    With his outstanding artistic talent and extraordinary skills, he consolidated the good reputation that Kruspe instruments had acquired by that time.
    In 1897 Fritz and Walter, Eduards sons, developed the first workable F-B double horn.
    In 1920 control of the firm passed to Prof. Georg Wendel, Eduard Kruspe’s son-in-law, who had been a horn player with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 20 years and had taught for 16 years as Professor for Horn at New England Conservatorium in Boston, Mass. USA.

    Prof. Georg Wendel* 1909: Firtz Kruspe dies and his widow takes care of the company

    * 1920: Eduard’s son in law, Prof. Greog Wendel, decides to manage the business in Erfurt.

    Rudi Schneider took over the workshop in 1956. He had learned the instrument-making trade under Fritz Kruspe.

    Rudi Schneider* 1936: Rudi Schneider first starts working for Kruspe

    * 1956: Rudi Schneider becomes proprietor of the traditional workshop

    Things became increasingly difficult for the firm after 1945. Obtaining materials, in particular, became more and more difficult and as a result barely any new instruments could be made. For 20 years, Mr. Schneider was the only master craftsman working at the firm.
    Peter Heldmann has owned the firm since 1979. He also completed his apprenticeship and journeyman training in the famous company.

    Peter Heldmann* 1952-1962: apprenticeship as craftsman for brass instruments with ED.KRUSPE

    * 1963-1969: apprenticeship and master in mechanical engineering

    * 1969-1975: diploma engineer for mechanics

    * 1979: taking over the company from Rudi Schneider and qualification as master craftsman for building brass instruments

    After reunification the situation improved and the future is now looking brighter. We currently employ four staff and still offer the traditional apprenticeship.
    In our new workshop near Eisenach, today horns, trombones and trumpets are made according to the designs of the firm’s former master craftsman.
    Instruments are tested and permanently improved under the skilled management of the current proprietor and master craftsman, Peter Heldmann. Professional musicians, such as chamber virtuoso Wolfgang Stahl, horn player with the Staatsoper Berlin and Gerhard Weissenborn, solo trombonist with the Staatskapelle Weimar.

  3. jacob says:

    the whole situration i svery disturbing. Thanks for writing about it.

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