Showing posts with label art looting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art looting. Show all posts

Apr 23, 2022

Forgery and false provenances

False provenances are needed to insert art forgeries into the historical record.

Where there is forgery there is false provenance.

Dealers who sell forgeries are great sources of false provenances. A special kind of writing is involved in the creation of false provenances. A talent for making things that are not true seem at least plausible. 

Question: Do dealers of forgeries also sell looted art?

Some, like Knoedler, are known to have sold both at one time or another. Knoedler's prestige and power enables it to insert lies into the historical record without being challenged for a very long time. 

What about the others? How to find out?

Mar 27, 2022

Benno Geiger in Provenances of Artworks Auctioned at Christies or Sothebys

 The panelists at the conference on Nazi-looted art in Italy that just took place in Venice offered many interesting insights. One of the topics that came up was the art dealer Benno Geiger, a known dealer of Nazi looted art, in a presentation by researcher Katharina Hüls-Valenti.

Geiger has been a subject of interest to us for a while. (See: "Geiger" artworks currently in American or British museums)

In this post, we look at a few of the artworks that have been auctioned at Christies or Sothebys that have some link to Benno Geiger, either in the provenance (an obvious red flag that calls for in depth verification) or in the references.  Why references? Because Nazi art looters like Benno Geiger have been known to lie about ownership histories.

Warning: given Geiger's involvement in the art market for Nazi-looted artworks and forced sales, there is no guarantee that the provenances are correct or complete. Sometimes, however, bringing the texts together in one place can make it easier to see the patterns that remain hidden when one studies each artwork individually.

Artworks linked to Benno Geiger that have been auctioned at Christies or Sothebys

Jul 15, 2021

Cultural property at the Oberfinanzdirektion München Bundesarchiv: archives



In attempting to verify one of the names that appears in a provenance with an extremely high Uncertainty Index (Bottenwieser), we stumbled upon an archive file (xml) in German that contains the names of many plundered Jewish collectors (and other people as well).  

Are there names here that should be plugged into the Looted Art Detector? 

Below is a Google translation of the first few paragraphs of the German text followed by the text itself. 


Fiduciary management of cultural property at the Oberfinanzdirektion München Bundesarchiv 2010 

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.

Jul 21, 2020

Analysis Art Provenances: Red Flag Name Benno Geiger

"Geiger, Benno. Venice, Botto Nuevo. Art historian-dealer of Baltic origin. Friend of Kieslinger and acted as guide for Muehlmann and Kieslinger during their trips to Italy in 1942 and 1943. Involved in irregular art purchases ordered by Muehlmann and frequently in touch with Hofer.

Asta, Ferruccio. Ascona, Switzerland-Milan, via Andegari. Milan art dealer now living in Switzerland as a refugee. Reported to have worked actively with Geiger and suspected of trafficking in loot."
Below are provenances that mention Geiger:

Oct 2, 2019

Vlug Report: transcription of Part 1


The Vlug Report, written in December of 1945 and named after its author, the Dutch art historian Jean Vlug, is an important work of investigation into the massive looting of artworks in Holland during World War II.

The Vlug report details the activities of the Dienststelle Mühlmann, which obtained works of art for Hitler, Göring and other Nazis.
The author was Jean Vlug, who served in the Royal Netherlands Army. He was a Dutch "Monuments Men" and investigator with the Art Looting Investigation Unit. His report, marked confidential and unavailable for decades, contains interviews with Nazi art looters as well of lists of artworks.
The following transcription concerns the first fifty pages of Vlug's report. The transcription is a work in progress. Please indicate any errors in the comments. Thank you.
For more information about the Vlug report, please see
The National Archives have published photographs of the Vlug report online at Fold3.
The photo above is from The Monuments Men Foundation website which honors Jan Vlug and requests more information about him.

Dec 31, 2018

Networks of Bruno Lohse

ALIU rendered as networks: Lohse and Loebl Red Flag Names

Is there an easy way to view looted art networks? Above is what the Red Flag Names that mention Dr. Bruno Lohse and/or Allen (Ali) Loebl look like.

One sees that several people - Manon Loebl, Dr. Hans Wendland, F Mestalet, Pierry Landry and Victor Mandl have direct links to both Dr Bruno Lohse and to Allen (Ali) Loebl.

This chart indicates merely that the Art Looting Investigation Unit described some kind of relationship. It does not tell us the nature of the relationship (although this information is in the original ALIU Red List data.) The ALIU Red Flag Name list says that Manon Loebl and Allen Loebl are brothers, but the viewer cannot see this on the chart.

Below is the network of direct connections between Red Flag Names and Walter Andreas Hofer.

What happens if we combine them?

Nov 8, 2017

Art Looting Investigation Unit: mentions of the Bauer Collection in the Final Report

What do the Art Looting Investigation Reports say about the looting of the Bauer Collection? How easy - or difficult - is it to access this information today, in 2017?

Can one search the archives via internet and retrieve the information?

Here is the result of a simple test: looking for information on the seizure of the Bauer collection in one of the ALIU Reports, the "Final Report". This report contains, notably, a list of names of suspected Nazi era operators.