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Lilienfeld, Karl

    Full Name: Lilienfeld, Karl

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1885

    Date Died: 1966

    Place Born: Leipzig, Saxony, Germany

    Place Died: Cademario, Ticino, Switzerland

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): Netherlandish and Northern Renaissance

    Career(s): art dealers


    Historian of Netherlandish art and gallery dealer. Lilienfeld studied at the universities of Leipzig and Halle and Berlin where he studied under Adolph Goldschmidt. He moved to the Hague where he worked as the assistant the eminent private art historian, Cornelis Hofstede de Groot in Amsterdam. He collaborated Hofstede on a revision of John Smith‘s 1829 Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters, known as the Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis. In 1911 he became the assistant director of the Royal Gallery in the Hague. His volumes for the Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis (volume 5) began appearing in 1912. He authored numerous entries for the Künstler-Lexikon of Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker. That same year Lilienfeld returned to Leipzig to head the modern art department of the Kunstverein (museum). In 1914 he published a monograph on the Netherlandish painter, Arent de Gelder: sein Leben und seine Kunst. The same year he assisted authoring the text for a catalog of the art collection of brewer Josef W. J. Cremer (1845-1938) with Hermann Voss. Following World War I he married Violette Lechesne. In 1926 he went to New York to lead the van Diemen Gallery. The Gallery represented Old Masters ranging from Frans Hals, Rubens to Tiepolo. Later he added French Impressionists. In 1930 he divorced, married Margarete Pohl and settled in New York permanently. The Gallery became Van Diemen Lilienfeld Galleries. His nephew, Horst Gerson, was also an art historian who studied under Cornelis Hofstede de Groot. [Published accounts that, Julia Lilienfeld Berg (1881-1970), wife of Bauhaus artist Lyonel Feininger, was his sister, are incorrect; they are not related].

    Selected Bibliography

    Arent de Gelder: sein Leben und seine Kunst. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1914; and Freise, Kurt, and Wichmann, Heinrich, eds. Rembrandts Handzeichnungen. 2 vols. Parchim i. Mecklenburg: H. Freise, 1912; Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts: nach dem Muster John Smith’s catalogue raisonné. vols 5, 6, 7. Esslingen am Neckar: Paul Neff Verlag, 1912, 1915,1918, English, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century: based on the Work of John Smith. vols 5, 6, 7. London: Macmillan, 1912, 1915,1918; and Voss, Hermann, and Winkler, Friedrich. Collection Geh[eime] Kommerzienrat [i.e., Josef Cremer, Dortmund]. s. l.: s. n., 1914.


    “Dr. Karl Lilienfeld, 81, Dies: President of Galleries Here.” New York Times September 21, 1966, p. 47; Who Was Who in American Art 2 (1999): 2025; personal correspondence, Bettina Lilienfeld, March, 2009.


    "Lilienfeld, Karl." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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