From the Collection of Dr. Oskar Paul Trautmann, Former German Ambassador to China (Lots 3193-3202)
Discovering the Wonders of Chinese Paintings | The Collection of Dr. Oskar Trautmann
陶德曼博士（Dr Oskar Paul Trautmann，1877-1950），德國資深外交家。早歲習法，畢業後入外交部，在一九○七年至二五年間先後獲派駐聖彼得堡、神戶，曾任駐日大使助理及臨時代辦。一九二六年返柏林，在外交部主管東亞事務。一九三一年十月，獲派往北平出任駐華公使。一九三五年五月，德使館升格為大使館，遂轉往南京，被任命為首任德國駐華大使，直至一九三八年八月抗日戰爭全面爆發後離華。
Dr. Trautmann was delegated to Beijing to take up the post of German minister to China
Dr. Trautmann served as chairman of the newly established Sino-German Cultural Association
Dr. Trautmann and his wife visited Pu Ru at his residence in Beijing
Qi Baishi dedicated "Amaranth" (lot 3197) to Trautmann
Dr. Trautmann was an active promoter of the “Chinese Paintings Exhibition” held in Berlin, where over two hundred and seventy paintings were displayed
Purchased Wang Jiyuan's Ladies by the Qinhuai River (Lot 3202) from Wang's exhibition in Nanjing
冬 Winter十一月 November
A memorial service and posthumous exhibition were held for the late Gao Qifeng. Wang Jinwei and Dr. Trautmann were a part of the organizing committee.
Xu Beihong dedicated "Ancient Cedar Trees" to Dr. Trautmann
Purchased Wang Yachen's "Drunken Zhongkui" (Lot 3199) from Wang's exhibition in Nanjing
The German consulate was promoted to an embassy and Dr. Trautmann was appointed the first German ambassador to China
The German embassy has held a Sino-German cultural event where both Xu Beihong and Dr. Trautmann attended
Purchased numerous works of Pu Ru from his exhibition in Beijing
Xu Beihong and Zhang Daqian visited the German Embassy and signed on the guestbook
In 1936, Dr. Trautmann held an exhibition in Frankfurt, displaying over a hundred works from his personal collection, including works from the presented collection
Purchased Zhang Daqian's White Lily (Lot 3201) at an exhibition that was held to raise fund for anti-japanese aggression at Suiyuan
Held the exhibition,"Present Time Chinese Paintings" at Princesses' Palace, Berlin
He held another Chinese Paintings Exhibition in Krefeld, Germany, showing 67 works, including works from the presented collection
The Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, Dr Trautmann acted as an arbitrator to facilitate peace between China and Japan, famously known in recent Chinese history as the “Trautmann Mediation”.
Held a Chinese Paintings Exhibition in the Museum of Fine Arts in Breslau, Silesia
Dr Oskar Paul Trautmann (1877-1950) was a senior German diplomat. Having studied law at a young age, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after graduating. From 1907-25 he was first stationed in Saint Petersburg, before acting as assistant to the ambassador to Japan and a chargés d'affaires ad interim in Kobe. In 1926 he returned to Berlin and was put in charge of general affairs in East Asia at the foreign office. He was then delegated to Beijing in October 1931, stationed in China to take up the post of minister. In May 1935, the German consulate was promoted to an embassy and he was transferred to Nanjing, where he was appointed first German ambassador to China, a post he held until he departed China in August 1938 when the Second Sino-Japanese War was in full swing.
Dr Trautmann holds a crucial position in the history of recent Chinese-German relations, contributing greatly to improving diplomatic affairs between the two nations. He had already participated in affairs with China in the late 1920s before his arrival in the country. The Nationalist Government at the time was facing the steady advance of Japanese pursuit and were striving to strengthen their national defence, while the Germans needed a stable supply of raw materials. Thus, the two sides formed a friendly partnership. The Germans organised a military advisory group to assist in the modernisation of the Chinese army, and sold them military equipment and industrial supplies, while the Chinese exported large amounts of raw materials, such as Tungsten ore, to the Germans. This close relationship was maintained until 1938 and was only possible because of Dr Trautmann, who played a key role in the negotiations between the two sides throughout this period. During his time stationed in China, he remained in close contact with Chinese government officials and was heavily influential, appearing in the press every two, three days for his various appearances, such as when presenting letters of credence, attending conferences, giving lectures and sightseeing. When the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, the Chinese and Japanese met with open hostility. During this crucial stretch, Dr Trautmann acted as an arbitrator to facilitate peace, famously known in recent Chinese history as the “Trautmann Mediation”. Although these talks eventually amounted to naught, if they had succeeded, they could have reversed the unstable political situation and completely rewrote history!
Dr Trautmann had an ardent love for Chinese culture, enthusiastically promoting cultural exchanges between the two countries. In 1993, he served as chairman of the newly established Sino-German Cultural Association. He was also an active promoter of the “Chinese Paintings Exhibition” held in Berlin early the following year, where over two hundred and seventy paintings were displayed.
In his free time, he was an art hobbyist, interacting with numerous artists such as Xu Beihong, Qi Baishi and Zhang Daqian. His collection consists of over a hundred and fifty paintings and calligraphic works, many of which were obtained directly from the artists or purchased at art exhibitions, with some even stating his name as the recipient on the painting. Dr Trautmann mainly sought after the works of contemporary artists and was indifferent to regional schools of thought. He did not have a specific bias towards a certain style of painting, nor did he judge the art by Western standards, even familiarising himself with texts such as Chiang Yee’s “The Chinese Eye” and Lin Yutang’s “My Country and My People”.
In one of his impressive speeches, he thoroughly dissected Chinese paintings from the perspective of religion, philosophy, culture, history and poetry, analysing the importance of calligraphy, composition, artistic ambience and overall presentation so that even abstract concepts such as creating nature or retreating from the world can be understood in full.
From 1936-38, he travelled back and forth between China and Germany, successively holding exhibitions in Frankfurt, Berlin, Krefeld and Breslau, displaying over a hundred works from his personal collection and the National Museum. He also published exhibition catalogues so that German audiences could “observe Chinese art whilst bearing in mind the thoughts and feelings of the Chinese people, in order to fully comprehend its eternal beauty… At the same time, it prevents their personal Western perceptions from displacing Chinese people’s opinions towards their own art”.
After returning to Germany in 1938, Dr Trautmann did not set foot in China again. Unfortunately, parts of his collection disappeared in World War II, while the remainder has been passed on to future generations, carefully stowed away to this day. The works in this collection have all been inherited by his grandchildren and most were displayed in German exhibitions in the 1930s. Having been hidden away for many years, they will finally resurface today, serving as historical evidence of the interaction between Chinese and German culture!