Showing posts with label LINZ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LINZ. Show all posts

Nov 14, 2022

Wolfgang Gurlitt's Nazi looted art

 View of Krumau, 1916, by Egon Schiele December 2002

The Austrian city of Linz agreed to return a landscape by Egon Schiele to the heirs of the pre-war owner, Daisy Hellman. The Gestapo seized the picture after Ms. Hellman left Austria following the Anschluss. A German collector named Wolfgang Gurlitt bought the picture at auction in 1942 and sold it, along with the rest of his collection, to the city of Linz in 1953.

Lesser Ury, The Seamstress (Die Naeherin), Oil on canvas, 52.1 x 41.9 cm
 (Holocaust Claims Processing Office, The Louis Löwenthal Collection)öwenthal_collection

"The Seamstress" by Lesser Ury, owned by the German Jewish art collector Louis Loewenthal, was confiscated by the Nazis in 1939-40 and acquired by Wolfgang Gurlitt.

"A pro-Nazi dealer falsely claimed years later that "The Seamstress had been destroyed in an Allied air raid. After the war, he sold it to the municipal museum in Linz, Austria.

The Times-Tribune, 13 July 1999

Jean Baer, a Jewish art collector in Berlin, owned this painting by Lovis Corinth, entitled "Matrose (Sailor"). His widow, Ida Baer was deported to Theresienstadt in August 1942.  Wolfgang Gurlitt got hold of their painting somehow and donated it to the Lentos museum in 1953.

It was restituted to the Baer heirs in 2015.

Provenance published by Sothebys in 2015

R. Brackl, Munich

Fritz Dägling, Königsberg

Heinrich Thannhauser, Munich (1859-1935, founder of Moderne Galerie Thannhauser in 1909 and proponent of avant-garde art, notably Kandinsky, Klee and Franz Marc) 

Jean Baer, Berlin

Wolfgang Gurlitt, Munich (1888-1965, gallerist, art dealer and collector)

Neue Galerie / Lentos Museum, Linz (purchased from the above in 1953)

Restituted to the heirs of Jean and Ida Baer in 2015


for more about Wolfgang Gurlitt, see:

An Austrian museum is coming to terms with the tainted legacy of its first director and founding collector, Wolfgang Gurlitt, a dealer in Nazi-looted art

Austrian exhibition to reveal story of Wolfgang Gurlitt, art dealer for the Nazis turned museum director 

by Catherine Hickley, The Art Newspaper 13 March 2019

Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz confronts the legacy of its controversial first director, cousin of Hildebrand Gurlitt

Linzer Kunstmuseum Lentos restituiert drei Kunstwerke

Gemälde von Lovis Corinth und Emil Nolde werden vor der Rückgabe werden sie noch bis 11. Jänner ausgestellt

21. November 2014, 12:55  Der Standard

(translated into English with Deepl)

Linz Art Museum Lentos restitutes three works of art

Paintings by Lovis Corinth and Emil Nolde to be exhibited until January 11 before being returned

November 21, 2014, 12:55  

Linz - The Linz Art Museum Lentos will restitute two works of art by Lovis Corinth and one by Emil Nolde. This was decided by the city council. Before they are returned, they will be exhibited for the last time until January 11. This was announced by the museum on Friday.

The three paintings are the "Maiwiese" (May Meadow) by Emil Nolde and "Othello" (The Moor) and "Schwabing" (View from the studio window) by Lovis Corinth. Provenance research revealed that the Maiwiese originally belonged to Otto Siegfried Julius, a physician living in Hamburg. Because of his Jewish origins, he was persecuted by the Nazi rulers and fled Germany in September 1938. He tried to send his art collection to Switzerland. On the way of transport, however, its trace is lost. The painting subsequently came into the possession of a Salzburg gallery owner, from whom the city of Linz acquired it in November 1953.

The two paintings by Lovis Corinth were owned by the Berlin commercial judge, merchant and art collector Jean Baer and, after his death in 1930, by his widow Ida Baer. Between 1939 and her deportation to Theresienstadt in August 1942, where she died in the same year, the woman lost control of the art collection. The further whereabouts of the artworks remain unknown, as does the time at which Wolfgang Gurlitt came into possession of them. When he sold part of his collection to the city of Linz in 1953, as part of the founding of the city's New Gallery, the two paintings were among them. Wolfgang Gurlitt is a relative of the art collector Cornelius Gurlitt, who died this May and who for months was at the center of a heated debate about looted art.

The results of this research have led to the conclusion that the works must be returned in accordance with the Austrian Art Restitution Act. All three works are therefore to be handed over to the heirs at the beginning of the coming year. Until all formalities and transport preparations have been completed, the paintings will be exhibited in a room of the current collection presentation from next Tuesday until January 11, 2015. Following research into the provenance of the Lentos collection, the City of Linz has restituted or settled a total of ten paintings since 1999. (APA, 21.11.2014)

Translated with (free version)

May 8, 2021


Maria Almas-Dietrich: Nazi art looter

"Art dealer; personal friend of Hitler, and for a time his principal buyer of works of art. One of the most important purchasing agents for Linz. Was under house arrest at Grafing, Bavaria, autumn 1945."
ALIU 1946 Final Report

Art historians, "Almas" in a provenance text means: dig deep.

The probability of Nazi looting is high.

Below, artworks from the DHM Linz database that contain "Almas" in the provenance.

Aug 1, 2018

Bathsheba and the Red Flag Names

The provenance or ownership history of the 17th century Bathsheba at the Norton Simon museum contains several dealers who were flagged in 1946 for their involvement in the Nazi looted art market. 


Cornelis Bisschop (Dutch, 1630-1674)
c. early 1660s
Oil on panel 
15-1/2 x 13-1/4 in. (39.4 x 33.7 cm) 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
Stephan von Auspitz, Vienna, in 1931/1932;
[Sanct Luca, Vienna, 1931 to];
Daniel George van Beuningen, Rotterdam by 1932.
[Kurt Walter Bachstitz Gallery, The Hague, 1932 as Maes].
Hans Ludwig Larsen (d. 1937), Noordwijk and Wassenaar, by descent to;
Mrs. H. L. Larsen (S. Larsen-Menzell, later called Mrs. Frank E. Brower); (sale, The Hague, van Marle &Bignell, 25 January 1943, no. 48, sold before the sale on 14 January 1943 to);
E. Göpel for the Führermuseum, Linz; bought through Posse by Hitler 1 March 1943;
Recovered and returned to Dutch government; after lengthy negotiations, Larsen’s estate refused restitution and the painting reverted to the government (sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 13-19 March 1951, no. 52, ill., as Maes, La Baigneuse);
[Martin B. Asscher, London, 1953].
W. A. Hofer, Berlin 1953.
Ch. van Spaendonck, Tilburg.
[Gebr. Douwes, Amsterdam 1968; sold 1969 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Names mentioned in the provenance include:  Bachstitz - Bignell -Göpel - Posse - Hitler - Muller - Asscher - Hofer - Douwes - Norton Simon.

In 1946, the Art Looting Investigation Unit had this to say:

Bachstitz, Kurt Walter. Basle The Hague, Surinamestr 11 (former). Jewish dealer, active formerly in Berlin, Munich and Amsterdam. Brother-in-law of Hofer, and his former employer. Although on bad terms, Hofer obtained an exit visa from Holland to Switzerland for him, but arranged to have his sister divorce Bachstitz, whereby aryanisation of the Bachstitz firm and/or confiscation of its assets was avoided. Hofer’s sister subsequently took over the firm, and it is possible that Hofer became part owner. Believed not to have engaged in important art looting activity. Conducted extensive business prior to the war with American dealers and collectors.

Bignell. The Hague, Lange Veerhout 58. Owner of Van Marle & Bignell, auction house. Reported to have dealt extensively in confiscated works of art. His firm expanded during the German occupation. Auctioned the Chabot collection on 9 January 1942. Associated with Dr M H H Franssen. In contact with Mumm and Kramer.

Goepel, Dr Erhard. Leipzig, Stieghtstrasse 76. Official Linz agent and buyer in Holland under Posse and Voss. Bought extensively in Holland and also travelled frequently in Belgium and France. Negotiated the forced sale of the Schloss Collection in Paris. Chief contacts: Vitale Bloch (Holland), Wuester, Wandl and Holzapfel (Paris)

Posse, Prof Dr Hans (deceased). Formerly Director of the State Picture Gallery, Dresden. Was appointed by Hitler as Director of the Special Commission for Linz in 1939, and became the most important official purchaser of works of art for Germany from 1939 through 1942. Died Dresden, 7 December 1942. Succeeded by Voss.


Mueller & Co, Frederick. Amsterdam, Nieuwe Doelen Straat 16. Auction firm owned by Mensing. 
Mensing. Amsterdam, Nieuwe Doelen Straat 16. Owner of the auction house Frederick Mueller & Co. Dealt with Posse, Miedl and the Dienststelle Muehlmann.

Hofer, Walter Andreas. Nuremberg. Director of the Goering Collection, and Goering’s chief purchasing agent. In custody of US Chief of Counsel, Nuremberg.

Published on: 8/1/2018
Updated on: 1/17/2020
Author: OAD
Publisher: Open Art Data