Showing posts with label Nazi loot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nazi loot. Show all posts

May 9, 2024

Osthaus Museum Hagen restitutes Renoir "View of the Sea from Haut Cagnes" to heirs of Jakob Goldschmidt (1882-1955)

1903 Renoir Blick aufs Meer

Jakob Goldschmidt (1882-1955) was one of the most important bankers of the Weimar Republic. Persecuted by the National Socialist regime, Goldschmidt fled Germany in the spring of 1933 and emigrated to the USA via Switzerland in 1936. His German citizenship was revoked in 1940 and his assets were confiscated the following year. 

Goldschmidt's art collection was auctioned off on September 25, 1941 at the Hans W. Lange auction house in Berlin

The Renoir painting Blick von Haut Cagnes aufs Meer (cat. no. 45) (View of the Sea from Haut Cagnes) was purchased by Hildegard Diehn, the wife of Wehrmacht officer Wilhelm Diehn. In 1960 the Renoir was at the Nathan Gallery in Zurich, where it was acquired by Prof. Gustav Stein from Cologne, a member of the Federation of German Industries. He passed the painting on to Fritz Berg, President of the South Westphalian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Hagen in 1948 and the first BDI President from 1949. After the death of his widow, Hildegard Berg, the Berg art collection was transferred to the Osthaus Museum Hagen

- source: press release from Osthaus Museum Hagen

Dec 23, 2021

The Art Loss Register Ltd Speech given at a Symposium in Amsterdam on 30th January 2008 hosted by Sotheby’s Auctioneers

 Our research began in August 2002 when we were asked to record a picture by Picasso ‘Still Life with Painting’ on the ALR database by two claimants living in England and the USA.   

As proof of ownership, they showed us a page from an exhibition catalogue for an exhibition of Dutch paintings held at the Stedelijk Museum from February to April 1939.  

Although the lender was noted as ‘Private Collection, Amsterdam’, the archives of the Stedelijk Museum held documents that could prove that the lender of the Picasso was their great-aunt,  Dr Meyer-Udewald, then living at an address in Vijzelstraat, Amsterdam.   

Within a week, we traced the Picasso to a private collection in the USA where it had been since 1952 but we had little idea then that we were facing four years of meticulous research in eleven countries to piece together how the Picasso had come to rest where it did.    

In the course of that research, not only did we reconstruct the provenance of this early Picasso but we discovered that, thanks to a Will written in 1925 by a Mr Schlesinger of Hamburg, that the claimants who had approached the ALR were not, after all, entitled to claim the Picasso as a war loss as their great aunt had only been granted a life interest in it.  

On her death, whenever that took place, the Picasso was to revert to Mr Schlesinger’s wife and children.    We discovered Käthe Schlesinger and the three children emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1938, settling in the USA and we located the heirs and advised them about the Picasso.   

Dr Meyer-Udewald, who was also Jewish, had emigrated from Hamburg to Tilburg in the Netherlands in 1936 loaning the Picasso to the Stedelijk Museum three years later.  In 1940, Dr Meyer Udewald moved to Belgium.  Once in Belgium, Dr Meyer-Udewald moved between safe houses in Brussels and Antwerp until she was betrayed and sent to the transit camp for Jewish prisoners at Malines.  

On 20 September 1943, she was deported from Malines to Auschwitz where she died.  Her premature death activated the terms of the 1925 Will of Ernst Schlesinger.  In wartime Brussels, the Picasso passed through the hands of Joseph Albert Dederen, a resident of Brussels and Dr Robyn, who loaned the picture to an exhibition in Knokke, its first public reappearance after the war.  The painting then surfaced at the Bollag Gallery in Zurich from whom it was purchased by the Galerie Benador, Geneva.  In October 1952, the Picasso was acquired in good faith by Duncan Phillips, founder of the Phillips Collection in Washington DC.   Following the ALR’s reconstruction of the provenance, we negotiated a settlement on behalf of the heirs of Ernst Schlesinger with the legal representative of Duncan V. Phillips.

The Art Loss Register Ltd

A Database for Nazi Looted Art Claims 

Speech given at a Symposium in Amsterdam on 30th January 2008 hosted by Sotheby’s Auctioneers

May 20, 2021

Readings in Nazi looted art: The Rape of Europa by Lynn Nicholas

Published in 1995, Lynn Nicholas' book The Rape of Europa was one of the first to investigate Hitler's massive looting of artworks. Many archives have opened since then and progress with digitization of source documents as well as and museum collections databases following the Washington Declaration have made new material available. 
It is nevertheless interesting to reread Nicholas' book for its insights, especially since the book was published nearly twenty years before the Gurlitt stash was discovered.

Below are a couple of brief extracts.

 "Voss would now channel his purchase funds, which would surpass those spent by Posse, through his own trusted agents, principal among whom was Hildebrand Gurlitt..."

- The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas

"Despite their disgust the OSS and MFAA men were human. Craig Smyth, who later had to supervise the house arrest of Hermann Voss, found it difficult to treat so eminent a scholar as a criminal and had him report daily to someone else. Monuments officer Charles Parkhurst, sent to question the widow of Hans Posse, whom he found living on the proceeds of sales of the pathetic contents of two suitcases of family bibelots, described her as a “gentle, elderly person” and broke off his interrogation when she began to weep. In the few answers she did provide it was clear that she was very proud of her husband’s accomplishments. She even showed Parkhurst photographs of Hitler at Posse’s state funeral, but of his actual transactions she clearly knew nothing."

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas

 "Plaut doubted that Bruno Lohse had really known the extent of Goering’s evildoing and noted that both he and Fräulein Limberger had become despondent when all was revealed. Rousseau and Faison too, after weeks of questioning Miss Limberger, were convinced that despite the fact that she had read the damning daily correspondence from Hofer to Goering, she bore no blame. When they had finished with her, Faison could not bring himself to leave her at the squalid internment camp to which she had been assigned and instead asked her where she would like to go. She named the Munich dealer Walter Bornheim, he of the suitcases full of francs, and a principal supplier to both Linz and Goering. Faison consented, and left her at the military post in Gräfelfing, where Bornheim lived."

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas

 available on Amazon