An auction of photography was held at the Theodor Wiegand Hall of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin last August 14. The photos, although ‘digital’ copies, are in themselves priceless images. Want to know why? Read on.
In 1899, during an expedition in the Middle East, Max Freiherr von Oppenheim (1860-1946) unearthed the remains of a palace dating from the early 1st millennium BC. The discovery was made on the Tell Halaf mound in what is present day northeast Syria.
Most of the finds were taken to Berlin, however they were not exhibited on the Museum Island. Instead, in 1930, they were placed on display in a renovated machine plant.
During the Second World War, a bomb destroyed the private museum together with the unique sculptures housed within it.
Almost 60 years after the destruction, one of the world’s largest restoration projects got under way. Restorers pieced together monumental stone sculptures and relief panels from more than 27,000 fragments! However, having said that, over 4,000 shards, clay figurines, bronzes and small stone tools are still in dire need of restoration, and for this reason, reproductions of historical images from the photographic estate of Max Freiherr von Oppenheim are being sold at auction.
More than 130 copies, from postcard-sized to large format, was auctioned off by the former Director General of the National Museums of Berlin, Peter-Klaus Schuster last August 14.