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Europe, Romania

Beginning of the 20th century

Wood, carved

Julius August Konietzko (art dealer)

Purchased by the museum from Konietzko in 1917

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The collector and dealer Julius Konietzko was initially active as an art dealer but quickly shifted his field of interest to ethnology. He maintained close relations with Felix von Luschan, then director of the Royal Museum for Ethnology (today the Ethnological Museum of Berlin), and with the ethnographica dealer Heinrich Umlauff in Hamburg. From 1911 to 1914, he undertook several trips to collect items, e.g., to Lapland, the Aran Islands, and Southern Sudan.

During World War I, Konietzko was an ethnologist in the army's service behind the front lines in the Balkans. He described his impressions in a short letter to Karl Weule, which can be read here.

Letter to Karl Weule, 30 Sep. 1918:
"Got out of the mess by the skin of my teeth; the French took part of my luggage with its spoils. The airmen have raged terribly. This retreat was probably one of the greatest things that ever happened. Now we have to disband quickly, as the whole Balkans have come back to life. I can tell you about it later. I am writing these lines late at night in a hurry because I have to leave immediately. We have sweltering heat here. Yours gratefully, J. Konietzko".

However, little has been published about the circumstances of his collecting activities. It is possible that he also 'collected' in the villages destroyed by the war.

In the 1930s, Konietzko expanded his trade in African art. His customers included well-known artists from various artist groups, such as the Brücke, the Hamburg Secession, the Freie Secession, and the Berlin Secession.

Marita Andó