Historisches Schwarzweißfoto von zwei Frauen sitzend vor einem Gebäude
Grete Ring in her summer house in Sacrow with Marie Büning, Photo: Arnold Büning

Grete Ring

Dealing in Modernism

Born in Berlin, Grete Ring (1887-1952) was a force of nature. Photographer and art dealer Marianne Breslauer-Feilchenfeldt described her memorably, “Truly irresistible […] admired by all, if occasionally a little feared, for she shrank from no one and nothing.”

One of the first women to study art history, Ring earned her doctorate under Heinrich Wölfflin and was highly regarded as a scholar and critic. From 1921 she worked as an art dealer at the Kunstsalon Cassirer dealership in Berlin, and from 1924 as a business partner alongside Paul Cassirer and Walter Feilchenfeldt. Because of her Jewish background, Ring had to leave Germany in 1937. A year later, she opened the London branch of the Cassirer firm and successfully continued her work in Britain as an art dealer and art historian. Over the years, Ring amassed an impressive collection of French and German drawings and published on a wide variety of art historical periods. Her discovery of Otto Wacker’s Van Gogh forgeries caused a sensation in Berlin art world of 1932.

In the autumn of 2023, the Liebermann Villa on Wannsee will stage the first exhibition dedicated to Grete Ring, who was also Liebermann’s niece, a close friend of his daughter Käthe and godmother to his granddaughter Maria. The exhibition sheds new light on Ring’s pioneering career between Berlin and London exile.

The exhibition is supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin and the International Music & Art Foundation. The exhibition is under the patronage of Dr. Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism.

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