Walter Bondy founded the art market journal Die Kunstauktion. He envisioned a "Börsenblatt" of the art market with accurate, unerring reporting as he wrote in the programmatic editorial of the first issue on October 15, 1927.</in>
Bondy and his editorial colleagues consistently followed this claim with auction reports, results of auctions, news from the art trade and collections, from museums and art historical research. Thus, the journal in newspaper format, which appeared weekly with up to 14 pages, became the most important organ of the German art market. An inexhaustible wealth of information from every conceivable area of art can be found on the „Nachrichten von Überall“ (News from Everywhere) page. Sometimes the commentaries are funny, for example by the writer Kurt Kusenberg under the pseudonym "Simplex".
J.I. von Saxe took over the editorship of Bondy in 1929. In order to appeal to a wider audience in addition to focusing on the auction market, Saxe sought a new name with the help of a jury. On September 28, 1930, the magazine appeared for the first time under the name Weltkunst, which it still bears today. From 1934 the publishing house Carl August Breuer belonged to the magazine, which was partly run from Paris because of the National Socialists‘ policy of Gleichschaltung.
Like all press organs, Weltkunst in the Nazi era was also subject to the Reich Press Chamber. Although martial propaganda articles are seldom to be found and one usually feels the editors‘ will to report as objectively as possible and to let some things echo between the lines, Weltkunst – unwillingly or not - with its meticulous announcements of auctions and collection sales, the printing of lists of results was deeply entangled in the trade with stolen goods from Jewish property.
Until the last years of the war, countless auctions from unnamed private collections and bourgeois apartment dissolutions are found in the advertisements and preliminary reports - much of it has to do with the NS master race ideology, deprivation of rights, expulsion and state terror.
The digitally accessible and indexed Die Kunstauktion and Weltkunst from 1927 to 1944 open up a vast archive of events in the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era art world and art market. The vintages published in the "Third Reich" are also an important source for provenance research in looted art cases.
In 1943, the Berlin editorial offices of Weltkunst, which also maintained a public reading room, were bombed out and the activities moved to Nauen. On 15 September 1944, because of "due to the total war-related concentration measures in the field of the press" finally came to an end.
Since the year 1949, when the Breuer family re-started in Munich, Weltkunst appeared uninterrupted. After several changes of ownership it belongs since 2005 to the Hamburg-based Zeitverlag, in which Die Zeit is also published. The editorial office was relocated to Berlin in 2012.
The price reports published in "Weltkunst" are linked from the respective auction catalog, see e.g. at the auction catalogue of April 30 and May 1, 1931 at Joseph Baer & Co. <Frankfurt, Main> [Hrsg.]: Bibliothek Carl Hirsch, Konstanz: Teile der Bibliotheken des Grafen Grigorij Alexandrowitsch Stroganoff (1770–1857) und der Eremitage in Leningrad.