Universität Bonn

Abteilung für Asiatische und Islamische Kunstgeschichte

04. Mai 2023

Lecture: Felix Ganz (Mainz) – A Man and his Collection - Vanished almost without Traces Felix Ganz (Mainz) – A Man and his Collection

Public lecture by Nathalie Neumann M.A.

Felix Ganz (Mainz) – A Man and his Collection - Vanished almost without Traces
Public lecture by Nathalie Neumann M.A.

Felix Ganz (1869-1944) was a successful businessman from Mainz and managing director of Ludwig Ganz AG, which imported and manufactured oriental carpets and textile products for furniture and home décor. Ludwig Ganz was based in Mainz, in Southwest Germany but with offices in Constantinople Smyrna and Tbilisi and shops in Wiesbaden and Berlin. Felix Ganz was also an art collector with an important collection of art objects from the Middle East and East Asia.

In 1934, Ludwig Ganz AG was ‘aryanized’. In 1938 and 1939 his children fled Germany, two to the UK and one to Switzerland. Felix stayed in his palatial villa overlooking the Rhine. In 1942 he and his second wife Erna were deported to Theresienstadt, where they survived for two years, and were murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp in October 1944. His art collection disappeared with only have a rough description of the items from restitution claims. In 2019 some objects belonging to Felix were discovered in the Landesmuseum in Mainz.

Adam Ganz is the great-grandson of Felix Ganz and his research on family history has already featured in exhibitions in Mainz and the Historical Museum in Frankfurt. In autumn 2018 he and Nathalie Neumann successfully applied to the German Lostart Foundation (DZK Magdeburg) to research the fate of the collection in conjunction with the University of Mainz.

The method to reconstruct the art collection is to place Felix Ganz in the center of a network of family, friends, and business and administrative relationships in order to understand and reconstruct historic exchanges whether of information or objects. The aim of the research is to find the art collection of the Ganz family but one of the effects is also to reconstruct the memory and connections of this assimilated Jewish family in Mainz.

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