Art Collection David Leder, Chemnitz/Berlin

Max Liebermann: Staudenbeet in des Künstlers Garten in Wannsee, ca. 1922, Pastel. Auction Amsler & Ruthardt Berlin, 25th October 1925, Lot NumberLos 162.
David and Lola Leder with Cousin Carl Leder and Erich Goeritz, undated. © Jüdische Gemeinde Chemnitz, Sammlung Lee Leder.
Otto Th. W. Stein: Portrait David Leder, undatiert, Ölgemälde. Der Querschnitt / 2.1922, [H. 3], Weihnachtsheft, "Aus Austellungen der Galerie Flechtheim".

Art Collection David Leder, Chemnitz/Berlin

Provenance Research Project in Collaboration with Mrs. Dr. Bettina Leder, funded by the German Lost Art Foundation


David Leder (1888-1947) worked as a merchant in the textile industry first in Chemnitz, later in Berlin, and collected paintings and graphic art from the 1910s.

He was friends with Emil Orlik, Otto Th. W. Stein, Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth; Liebermann and Corinth portrayed him and his wife Lola several times, their works were numerous in Leder’s collection. Other artists represented with their works in the collection were Paul Cézanne, Albrecht Dürer, Karl Hofer, Edvard Munch, Will Nowak, Rembrandt, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Lesser Ury, and Maurice de Vlaminck. By 1925, the collection included approximately 600 works of art.

David Leder came to Chemnitz from Jassy, Romania, in 1889 as a one-year-old child with his parents and siblings. After attending high school, David Leder learned the trade of a merchant in his father Leon Leder’s company, which dealt in stockings and gloves. In 1910 he was given power of attorney in his brother-in-law’s company. In 1914 David Leder founded a wholesale company in Chemnitz and married Lea Laura, called Lola, Bernstein.

When Romania entered the war in August 1916, David Leder was interned with his brothers and father in Holzminden in the Duchy of Brunswick.

In 1920 David Leder moved with his wife and their three children, Rudolf, Alfred and Ruth to Berlin. His close friend Erich Goeritz and his family had also relocated in the city. Erich Goeritz’s father had founded the textile company Sigmund Goeritz AG in Chemnitz, which had risen to become the market leader in underwear.

In 1921, David Leder founded a company in Berlin for the wholesale and retail of wool and cotton. In 1925 he returned to Chemnitz with his family.

In 1925, David Leder consigned part of his collection of paintings and graphical work of art to two auctions at Cassirer and Helbing and at Amsler & Ruthardt in Berlin. Not all the lots offered were sold.

From 1928 David Leder worked in Berlin for the textile company Sigmund Goeritz AG in Chemnitz and Berlin, respectively, and as sole agent for numerous companies for all branches of the Woolworth company. Around 1930, the family moved back to Berlin.

From 1933, the Leder family was persecuted as Jews by the National Socialists. The children of David and Lola Leder went into emigration. David Leder was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in November 1938 and remained imprisoned. According to reports in the family, some kind of ransom was paid for his release. His company was deleted from the commercial register in February 1939. In 1939, he and his wife Lola managed to leave Germany and emigrate to London via Basel and Paris.

In Berlin, the stored removal goods, including works of art, remained behind. It was confiscated by the Gestapo in 1942 and delivered to a depot of the Vermögensverwertungsstelle in Berlin in 1944. After the end of the war, it could no longer be found.

David Leder was unable to continue his earlier work in London. He was initially not granted a work permit and in 1940 began an apprenticeship as a lathe operator, which he discontinued due to an accident at work that resulted in the loss of a finger. He was then employed at the fire station of an air-raid shelter. He died in a London hospital on March 1, 1947, at the age of 58.


Beate Schreiber
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