Otto Greiner


The immortal Prometheus models man from clay in his own image. He pauses, contemplating his defiant act, with his creation still lifeless. On behalf of humanity, Prometheus would later steal fire from the gods and be punished by Zeus with eternal torment. His creative power coupled with his spirit of rebellion made him a powerful symbol, particularly for artists. Greiner’s attention falls on the carefully drawn and modelled figures, setting them in a primeval landscape of earth and water.

– Tanenbaum collection label

– Gallery label: Shepherd Gallery, New York

– Exhibition label: Art Gallery of Ontario

– Inscription (in pencil?): BLAC

by 1916 – still in 1921
Dr. Joachim Zimmermann, Berlin, Germany [1]

– 1968/06/27
In auction of "Freiwillige Versteigerung aus verschiedenem Besitz: Fayence, Porzellan, Glas, Jugendstil, Ostasiatica, Silber, Kunsthandwerk, Leuchter, Metall, Textilien, Orientteppiche, Möbel, Skulpturen, Gemälde, Graphik, Autographen, Bücher." Weinmüller, Münchner Kunstversteigerungshaus Rudolf Neumeister (A. Weinmüller), Munich, Germany, June 20-22, 1968, cat. no 1792 [2]

1968/06/27 –
Peter Griebert, Munich, Germany, purchased from Münchener Kunstversteigerungshaus Rudolf Neumeister [3]

1968 – 1969
Shepherd Gallery, New York, USA, purchased from Peter Griebert [4]

1969 – 1978
Joey (b.1933) and Toby Tanenbaum, Toronto, purchased from Shepherd Gallery [5]

National Gallery of Canada, given by Joey and Toby Tanenbaum [6]

[1]The painting wason loan to the artist's memorial retrospective “Ausstellung zum Gedächtnis von Otto Greiner”, Leipziger Kunstverein, 1916 [cat. no. 123]; the very similar but undated version owned by Dr. Georg Hirzel, Leipzig, was exhibited as cat. no. 120 in the same exhibition. In 1921 the painting was still recorded as belonging to Zimmermann [Thieme-Becker, vol. XIV, 1921, p. 589].

[2] The catalogue lists Dr. Joachim Zimmermann, Berlin, and Dr. Georg Hirzel, Leipzig, as former owners, the latter probably erroneously [See note 1].

[3] German art dealer Peter Griebert acquired the painting on June 27, 1968 at a sale at the Münchener Kunstversteigerungshaus Rudolf Neumeister (A. Weinmüller) and sold it to the Shepherd Gallery, New York, shortly after [Email from Peter Griebert to A. Kausch, NGC Provenance Research Project, July 25, 2008].

[4] See note [3] In a fax to A. Kausch, dated July 16, 2008, Robert Kasheyof Shepherd Gallery confirms that he acquired Greiner's Prometheus from Peter Griebert “around 1968”. The Shepherd Gallery lent the work to the exhibition “The Sacred and Profane in Symbolist Art” at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto in 1969 [without catalogue number but listed on p. XLIV].

[5] Joey and Toby Tanenbaum, Toronto, acquired the painting from the Shepherd Gallery in 1969 and gave it to the National Gallery of Canada in 1978. The Accession records only note the year of acquisition.

[6] See note [5].

oil on canvas
120.5 x 80.5 cm
Credit line
Gift of Joey and Toby Tanenbaum, Toronto, 1978
Accession number

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