Photo: Karin Plessing / Reinhard Scheiblich; with kind permission of the Medical-Historic Museum Hamburg
This portrait shows the Hamburg physician Eugen Fraenkel. His facial expression is serious, the forehead is marked by deep wrinkles, his moustache is accurate, and he gazes at the beholder through a pair of pince-nez. He wears a distinguished suit (black jacket, beige vest) with dark tie and white shirt and stand-up collar. The picture was painted by the Hamburg artist Gretchen Wohlwill in 1928 – three years after Fraenkel’s death. A photograph of the deceased served as a model. The oil portrait painted on canvas measures 65 x 75 cm and was signed by the artist in the lower right corner.
The medical faculty of Hamburg University acquired the finished painting in 1928 and hung it in one of its buildings. As evidenced by a preserved label on the back of the frame, the painting was later removed from its place and, according to the current state of research, delivered to a collection point for “degenerate art” on October 12, 1939 (“Deposited by Eppendorf University Hospital”). Today, the painting hangs in Hamburg’s Museum for the History of Medicine, which is housed in the former pathology building once planned for Fraenkel by city building director Fritz Schumacher.
Gretchen Wohlwill, Oil-Portrait of Eugen Fraenkel, Hamburg 1928, edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <https://dx.doi.org/10.23691/jgo:source-216.en.v1> [January 23, 2021].