Posts Tagged ‘works’

‘Nazi art hoarder’ Cornelius Gurlitt leaves works to museum

May 7th, 2014

Stephan Holzinger, his lawyer, said: “I can understand that there is now wild speculation, but I don’t want to comment on that at this stage.”

He said it was now up to a probate court to decide whether the will was valid and if a contract of inheritance existed.

A German government spokesman insisted that the collector’s death would not affect the investigation into ownership claims on the paintings. They include works by Chagall, Beckmann, Picasso and Renoir.

The paintings were collected in the 1930s and early 1940s by Gurlitt’s father Hildebrandt, who was ordered by the Nazis to deal in art works that had been seized from Jews or deemed “degenerate” and removed from museums. The existence of the collection was uncovered only late last year.

Under German law, Mr Gurlitt was not legally obliged to return any to their original owners because he was protected by a statute of limitations ruling that any claims resulting from incidents more than 30 years ago were invalid.

But after first refusing to give up any of his collection, Gurlitt backed down under mounting international pressure and agreed to co-operate with the German authorities. He said he would return any works which were shown to have been stolen.

A spokesman for the Bavarian government said Gurlitt’s agreement to return the painting was binding.

Relatives of Jewish owners of the paintings said that they hoped Mr Gurlitt’s death would speed up the return of the works that the Nazis had stolen from their families.

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The works of art stolen by the Nazis

March 29th, 2014

Mr Gurlitt was found to have hoarded more than 1,500 works of art for more than half a century. Investigators believe that others in the collection may have also been stolen by the Nazis.

Among the other paintings to be found in his collection was a painting of Waterloo Bridge in London by Claude Monet. Other paintings of a similar scene by Monet have sold for more than £5 million.

Woman in a Blue Dress in front of a Fireplace by Henri Matisse

Painted in 1937, Woman in a Blues Dress was purchased by art collector, Paul Rosenberg.

Rosenberg abandoned his collection when he fled France in 1940 following the Nazi invasion.

It was one of 162 works taken from his collection in 1941 by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), the Nazi organisation dedicated to appropriating cultural properly during the Second World War.

Art dealer Gustav Rochlitz, later acquired it and in 1947, he was convicted in France for dealing in Nazi looted art.

In 1950, a gallery in Paris sold the painting to shipping magnate Niels Onstad.

He has displayed it in his art centre near Oslo, the Henie Onstad Art Centre, since 1968, but recently agreed to return it to Rosenberg’s descendants.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I


The 1907 painting by Gustav Klimt was appropriated by the Nazis. It was commissioned by Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer.

His wife asked Ferdinand in her will for her husband to donate Klimt’s portrait of her to be donated to the Austrian State Gallery. She died from meningitis in 1925.

Her husband fled to Switzerland once the Nazis occupied Austria, and advancing German forces seized the painting.

Bloch-Bauer designated his nephew and nieces, as the inheritors of his estate.

However, the Austrian government retained ownership of the painting. It was eventually returned to the Altmann family in 2006, following a protracted legal battle.

It was then sold at auction for $ 135 million. This was the highest price of a painting sold at auction at the time. It is currently on display at Neue Art Gallery in New York.

The Astronomer by Johannes Vermeer


The 1668 painting by Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer passed through several owners, before being eventually sold to the banker and art collector, Alphonse James de Rothschild.

After his death, his son Édouard inherited the painting. Nazis seized the painting from his hotel following the German invasion of France.

The painting was returned to the Rothschilds family after the war and was acquired by the French state in 1983. It has been exhibited at the Louvre ever since.

Amber Room, designed by Andreas Schlüter


Andreas Schlüter was German baroque sculptor and architect that lived at the end of the 17th century.

He began construction of the Amber Room in 1701, in partnership with Danish craftsman, Gottfried Wolfram. It was installed in the first King of Prussia, Friedlich I’s home, the Charlottenburg Palace.

The room was sculpted out of amber, and contained jewels, paintings, and gold.

As it passed through owners, several renovations took place on the Amber Room, and it eventually measured 55 square meters and contained over six tonnes of amber.

After taking control of Leningrad, the Nazis reached the Amber Room, and they dismantled it into 27 separate crates and sent it to Königsberg in East Prussia.

The area was heavily bombed by the Royal Air Force and the Soviet military. It has never resurfaced.

Some claim that it survived the war, while others believe that it was destroyed, or hidden in a lost bunker. In 2008, German treasure hunters claimed to have found the

Amber Room, but this could not be confirmed because of limited access to the site. A spokesperson for the Amber Room Organisation believes the treasure was transported to Saalfeld and hidden in an underground mining chamber.

Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo


The marble sculpture of Mary with a baby Jesus was the only sculpture by Michelangelo that left Italy during his lifetime, after being bought by Giovanni and Alessandro Moscheroni in Bruges.

Nazis soldiers looted the sculpture, smuggling it to Germany hidden in mattresses in a Red Cross truck. It was found two years later in Austria and returned. Today, it is in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges.

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