Art Stolen By The Nazis

Discussion in 'The Third Reich' started by KriegsmarineFreak, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    On my last post I wanted to refer to an excellent source regarding Hitler's and the Third Reich involvement with art and particularly the raping of the art of occupied countries as an official policy of the regime.I have now found it.

    The reference is "Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics" by Frederic Spotts which relates the direction given by Hitler on the subject of artwork of overrun countries..........follows as below

    It was with the occupation of France in June 1940 that there fell into Hitler's hands some of the world's outstanding private art collections,many of them the property of Jews,in particular the Rothschilds-Edouard,Robert and Maurice.To forestall any transfer of ownership that would legally place artworks beyond German control,Hitler's first step after the armistice was to issue a decree declaring that"in addition to artworks of the French state,private artworks and antiquities,especially those belonging to Jews,should be taken into provisional custody by the occupation forces to prevent their removal or concealment......This is not confiscation but guardianship of property to be used as collateral in peace negotiations"

    In reality,outright vandalising began immediately.Otto Abetz,the German ambassador in Paris,set up special teams to seize the property of Jews who had fled.They were joined by a new organisation,the Einsatzstab (Operations Staff) Reichsleiter Rosenberg,which Hitler had authorised in July 1940.This organisation was an outgrowth of the Institute for the Jewish Question which Rosenberg had established a year earlier,with authority to confiscate libraries,archives and other property belonging to Jews,Freemasons and other enemies of National Socialism.In September 1940,it extended its mission into one of wholesale plundering of cultural property both in France and the Low Countries.Hitler gave Rosenberg his personal authority to seize any cultural objects considered of value and to ship them to Germany where he,Hitler, would decide what to do with them.

    The Einsatzstab,the Gestapo and other agencies pillaged at will from homes,businesses and bank vaults of Jews and anyone considered objectionable.The loot was taken to the Jeu de Paume,a pavilion built by Napoleon 111 on the site of an old tennis court (end of quote)

    Goering alone received 22 chests of jewellery ransacked from the Rothschild country houses.In all,the Einsatzstab seized 21.903 objects from 203 collections,the largest proportion being 5009 objects from the Rothschilds.

    I would say that Hildebrandt Gurlitt was probably a member of Einsatzstab Reichleiter Rosenberg and had access to objects d'art.He is on record as selling Posse,an art confidant of Hitler,four very expensive Beauvais tapestries as well as an important work of Lorenzo di Credi and drawings by Claude,Boucher and Poussin.Hitler's Press Secretary Otto Dietrich was also a keen buyer of art at this time...draw your own conclusions.

    Tit bits of information reveal that the authorities have said that the son Cornelius Guritt was a "night and fog" person..he is said to be not in any database as any other citizen would be.Further,the wife of Hildebrandt is said to have declared in the 1960s that all the Gurlitt artwork had been lost at Dresden.
    Smudger Jnr likes this.
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Degenerate art: Why Hitler hated modernism - BBC News

    Degenerate art: Why Hitler hated modernism

    This week it was revealed that a huge stash of modern art had been found in a flat in Munich. Many of the paintings were considered "degenerate" by the Nazis, who staged an exhibition especially to ridicule them. Why did Hitler hate abstract art so much?

    In July 1937, four years after it came to power, the Nazi party put on two art exhibitions in Munich.

    The Great German Art Exhibition was designed to show works that Hitler approved of - depicting statuesque blonde nudes along with idealised soldiers and landscapes.

    The second exhibition, just down the road, showed the other side of German art - modern, abstract, non-representational - or as the Nazis saw it, "degenerate".

    The Degenerate Art Exhibition included works by some of the great international names - Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka and Wassily Kandinsky - along with famous German artists of the time such Max Beckmann, Emil Nolde and Georg Grosz.

    The exhibition handbook explained that the aim of the show was to "reveal the philosophical, political, racial and moral goals and intentions behind this movement, and the driving forces of corruption which follow them".

    Works were included "if they were abstract or expressionistic, but also in certain cases if the work was by a Jewish artist," says Jonathan Petropoulos, professor of European History at Claremont McKenna College and author of several books on art and politics in the Third Reich.

    He says the exhibition was laid out with the deliberate intention of encouraging a negative reaction. "The pictures were hung askew, there was graffiti on the walls, which insulted the art and the artists, and made claims that made this art seem outlandish, ridiculous."

    British artist Robert Medley went to see the show. "It was enormously crowded and all the pictures hung like some kind of provincial auction room where the things had been simply slapped up on the wall regardless to create the effect that this was worthless stuff," he says.

    Hitler had been an artist before he was a politician - but the realistic paintings of buildings and landscapes that he preferred had been dismissed by the art establishment in favour of abstract and modern styles.

    So the Degenerate Art Exhibition was his moment to get his revenge. He had made a speech about it that summer, saying "works of art which cannot be understood in themselves but need some pretentious instruction book to justify their existence will never again find their way to the German people".

    The Nazis claimed that degenerate art was the product of Jews and Bolsheviks, although only six of the 112 artists featured in the exhibition were actually Jewish.

    The art was divided into different rooms by category - art that was blasphemous, art by Jewish or communist artists, art that criticised German soldiers, art that offended the honour of German women.

    One room featured entirely abstract paintings, and was labelled "the insanity room".

    "In the paintings and drawings of this chamber of horrors there is no telling what was in the sick brains of those who wielded the brush or the pencil," reads the entry in the exhibition handbook.

    The idea of the exhibition was not just to mock modern art, but to encourage the viewers to see it as a symptom of an evil plot against the German people.

    The curators went to some lengths to get the message across, hiring actors to mingle with the crowds and criticise the exhibits.

    The Degenerate Art Exhibition in Munich attracted more than a million visitors - three times more than the officially sanctioned Great German Art Exhibition.

    Some realised it could be their last chance to see this kind of art in Germany, while others endorsed Hitler's views. Many people also came because of the air of scandal around the show - and it wasn't just Nazi sympathisers who found the art off-putting.

    Fritz Lustig was a young Jewish apprentice who went along to see the works of art. He says "they didn't seem to mean very much - if they were portraits they seemed to distort the faces... if they were things, they seemed to be quite different from what the things really looked like - I mean the word degenerate seemed to me to apply".

    The exhibition went on tour all over Germany, where it was seen by a million more people.

    Some of the art was later burned by the Nazis, and for many of the artists this was only the beginning of very hard times ahead.

    But Petropoulos says that for some, being banned by the Nazis turned out to have a positive side.

    "This artwork became more attractive abroad, or certainly in anti-Nazi circles it gained values because the Nazis opposed it, and I think that over the longer run it was good for modern art to be viewed as something that the Nazis detested and hated."

    Some of the artists featured in the exhibition are now considered among the greats of modern art.
    Lustig, who later fled the Nazis to settle in England, now enjoys the art that he once thought was degenerate.
    "Well, I have grown up since that - I was pretty young and I hadn't seen all that much art - I've changed my mind since then," he says.
    "I can appreciate modern art much better now than I did then. It's not meant to be beautiful is it?"
    Lucy Burns was reporting for Witness - which airs weekdays on BBC World Service radio. You can hear her report on degenerate art here
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  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Previously unknown artworks by masters are among more than 1,400 pieces found in a trove of Nazi-looted art in Munich, German officials say.

    As slides of the paintings were shown at a news conference, an expert said the works had been seized from private individuals or institutions.

    Previously unregistered works by Marc Chagall, Otto Dix, Max Liebermann and Henri Matisse were found.

    Prosecutors said the issue of ownership was still being clarified.

    The total value has been estimated at about 1bn euros (£846m; $1.35bn).

    Reinhard Nemetz, head of the prosecutors' office in Augsburg, said that 121 framed and 1,285 unframed works had been seized in the flat of Cornelius Gurlitt in Munich in March of last year.

    It was not yet clear if any offence had been committed, he added, stressing that the legal position was extremely complex.

    Investigators, he said, had turned up "concrete evidence" that at least some of the works had been seized by the Nazis from their owners or had been deemed "degenerate".

    Art expert Meike Hoffmann said some of the works were dirty but they had not been damaged.

    'Extraordinarily good'
    "When you stand before the works and see again these long-lost, missing works, that were believed destroyed, seeing them in quite good condition, it's an extraordinarily good feeling," Ms Hoffmann said.

    Other artists whose works were found include Pablo Picasso and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as Canaletto and Gustave Courbet.

    The paintings were found in March of last year after Mr Gurlitt was investigated for tax evasion.

    The framed pictures were stacked on a shelf, like in a museum storeroom while the unframed works were piled up in drawers, said customs official Siegfried Kloeble.

    According to a report by Germany's Focus magazine, Mr Gurlitt, the reclusive son of an art dealer in Munich, would occasionally sell a picture when he needed money.

    "We don't have any strong suspicion of a crime that would justify an arrest," said Mr Nemetz, adding that the current whereabouts of Mr Gurlitt were unknown.

    Asked at the news conference why the German authorities had taken so long to reveal the paintings, the prosecutor said it would have been "counter-productive to go public" with the case earlier.

    Mr Kloeble refused to say where the artworks were being stored.

    Mr Gurlitt's father Hildebrand collected early 20th Century art regarded by the Nazis as un-German or "degenerate", and removed from show in state museums.

    He was recruited by the Nazis to sell the "degenerate art" abroad but also bought privately.

    After the war he told investigators that his collection had been destroyed during the Allied bombing of Dresden in 1945. He also said he had been persecuted himself for having a Jewish grandmother.

    Resuming his work as a dealer, he died in a car crash in 1956.

    A Jewish group has questioned the length of time it took Germany to unveil the artworks and called for them to be returned to their original owners.

    "It cannot be, as in this case, that what amounts morally to the concealment of stolen goods continues," said Ruediger Mahlo, speaking for the Conference on Jewish material claims against Germany.

    'Justice denied'
    Stuart Eizenstat, a former US ambassador to the EU, told the BBC that time was running out, and the details of the artworks should be published.

    "Victims of the Holocaust are aging, even the families of those who did not survive are of an age," he said.

    "It's important that this be publicised. But the longer one goes... the more difficult it is for people to prepare potential claims... Justice delayed is justice denied."

    However, prosecutors say it would not be proper procedure to put things on the internet and people who want to make a claim should contact them directly.

    The BBC's Stephen Evans in Munich says that descendants of owners of art taken by German forces in occupied Europe may be able to make claims.

    However, there are suggestions that art taken in Germany itself may not be reclaimable because of a 30-year statute of limitations.

    Mr Mahlo said that private collections of such art under the Third Reich had been almost all Jewish.

    However, auctioneers have argued that at least some of the works were purchased cheaply in 1938 by Mr Gurlitt's father from a collection of state-owned art.

    In 1990, Cornelius Gurlitt auctioned works for 38,250 Swiss francs (31,000 euros) in Galerie Kornfeld, an auction house and gallery in the Swiss city of Bern.

    In a statement quoted by Reuters news agency, Galerie Kornfeld said: "Cornelius Gurlitt inherited the works after the death of his mother Helene. Basically this is a case of undeclared inheritance."
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Fate of Germany's 'degenerate art' revealed - BBC News

    Fate of Germany's 'degenerate art' revealed


    The inventory shows confiscated works acquired by Hildebrand Gurlitt, which may be among the Munich hoard discovered last year

    London's Victoria and Albert Museum is publishing online two volumes which record what the Nazi regime did with confiscated 'degenerate art'.

    Hitler believed post-impressionist modern art, including Expressionists such as Kandinsky and Otto Dix, to be "evidence of a deranged mind".

    He ordered more than 16,000 artworks, including works by Van Gogh and Man Ray, to be removed from German museums.

    The ledgers reveal the fate of those artworks, many of which were destroyed.

    The 'Entartete Kunst' inventory, compiled in 1941-2, was donated to the V&A by the widow of Heinrich Robert (Harry) Fischer in 1996. The term 'Entartete Kunst' translates as 'degenerate art'.

    Since then it has been used by art researchers across the world as they attempt to identify the provenance of particular paintings that went missing during the Nazi era.

    V&A curator Douglas Dodds, who is responsible for making the ledgers available to the the public, told the BBC that the volumes were "systematically organised".

    "This was a major campaign managed from the top," he told the BBC's Arts Editor Will Gompertz.

    "For me there are so many echoes of what happened later to people, as well as art works."

    For each institution, confiscated works are listed alphabetically by artist and include information on what happened to each piece - using symbols such as 'T' (for exchanged) and 'V' (for sold). Those marked 'X' were destroyed.

    Often the name of the work's buyer and a price are given, with names including Hermann Goring and Hildebrand Gurlitt frequently recurring.

    Hitler, a failed artist, maintained that "anyone who sees and paints the sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilised", there was still some "uncertainty " among other Nazi leaders about what constituted "good art", prompting Goring to buy up some of the artworks for his own private collection.

    Hildebrand Gurlitt is the father of Cornelius Gurlitt, in whose Munich apartment more than 1,400 artworks were found last year, many of which were alleged to have been looted by the Nazis.

    It was in response the discovery of Gurlitt's trove of paintings - including works, long thought to have been lost or destroyed, by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse - that the V&A decided to make the records public.

    Many of the paintings withdrawn from Germany's museums had been loaned by private individuals and were never returned.

    Much of the documentation held by the institutions from which the art was confiscated has never been made available to those seeking the restitution of lost art, so the V&A volumes will offer new hope.

    In pictures: Long-lost art unveiled in Germany - BBC News
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Listened to a news item the other day in relation to the art find.....but cannot trace it.

    I am sure that the release was that all the paintings had now been indexed for the first time.It did mention the VA museum but I do not know if they have been involved in the task.

    Someone may have heard the news item more accurately.
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Forget to mention that the follow up to this discussion in the form of a two part documentary has started on BBC1.

    Entitled,The Art that Hitler Hated

    2nd Part next Tuesday at 1035 pm
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Swiss museum to accept Gurlitt 'Nazi art'

    Switzerland's Bern Art Museum has agreed to accept hundreds of artworks bequeathed by German Nazi-era art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt.

    But a museum spokesman said pieces looted by the Nazis in World War Two would not be permitted in the museum.

    Mr Gurlitt, the son of Adolf Hitler's art dealer, had for years hidden works by artists including Picasso and Monet.

    Around 500 works are expected to remain in Germany until their rightful owners can be identified.

    Three pieces - by Max Liebermann, Henri Matisse and Carl Spitzweg - will be returned immediately, German officials say.

    But it is unclear how reassured other families who had their paintings looted by the Nazis will feel about Monday's announcement, says BBC News arts editor Will Gompertz.

    Neither Germany nor Switzerland has a particularly glowing track record in the field of returning looted art, our correspondent adds.

    'Historic burden'
    The Bavarian authorities seized some 1,280 artworks from Mr Gurlitt's Munich flat as part of a tax evasion probe in February 2012.

    The find, which was not made public until November last year, has triggered legal disputes surrounding works taken illegally by the Nazis.

    Mr Gurlitt died in May aged 81 having named the Bern museum as his "sole heir".

    Christoph Schaeublin, president of board of trustees of the Bern Art Museum, told a news conference in Berlin on Monday that the museum would accept the bequest.

    But "no work suspected of being looted" would enter the museum, he said.

    The museum pledged to work with German authorities to ensure that "all looted art in the collection is returned" to its rightful owners.

    A canny compromise
    What to do about this billion-euro art collection has plagued Germany ever since news broke about the secret hoard a year ago. And the announcement whether Bern Art Museum would take on what is being seen as a "poisoned chalice" was a moment of high drama.

    "It was the most difficult decision of my professional life," the museum's president, Christoph Schaeublin told me.

    By taking in the whole collection, the museum could have laid itself open to years of expensive legal battles over ownership, or been tarnished with the accusation of profiting from the Nazis' crimes. That is why a canny compromise has been made - the German state will now store the hundreds of paintings thought to have been looted, and track down the rightful owners.

    The descendants of the original owners now hope they are a step closer to getting what is rightfully theirs.

    "The foundation council's decision was anything but easy and there certainly weren't emotions of triumph," said Mr Schaeublin.

    "These would be entirely inappropriate considering the historic burden weighing heavily on this art collection."

    Mr Gurlitt's father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was ordered to deal in works that had been seized from Jews, or that the Nazis had considered "degenerate" and removed from German museums.

    The hoard is estimated to be worth up to a billion euros (£850m; $1.35bn) and includes works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall, Emil Nolde.

    A German task force is investigating the art amid claims from descendants of the original owners, including the family of art dealer Paul Rosenberg.

    Christopher A Marinello, who is representing the Rosenbergs in their efforts to recoverMatisse's Femme Assise [Seated Woman], said on Monday the family were "grateful" to the museum.

    "We hope now for the expeditious return of all looted works in the Gurlitt bequest to their rightful owners," he said in a statement.

    Cornelius Gurlitt initially refused to give up the paintings but then changed his position, agreeing to co-operate with the German authorities on establishing the paintings' provenance, and then return them if they were shown to be stolen.

    One of his cousins, 86-year-old Uta Werner, said on Friday she was contesting his fitness of mind when he wrote the will naming the Bern museum as his sole heir.

    However German media quoted her brother, Dietrich Gurlitt, saying he would not object to the will.

    The family has stressed its commitment to returning any looted art and a transparent effort to clarify the origins of the artworks.
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    I'm a bit suprised that returning these is taking so long. When this story first broke, there were pictures on the Net of pages from Mr Gurlitt Snr's purchase ledgers...he seems to have kept quite meticulous records...and I would have thought that at least some the shops and auction houses and dealers he purchased from still existed, with their own complimentary purchase and sale records...
  10. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    After watching the documentary "The Art that Hitler Hated" it is no wonder that this is taking a long time to resolve. All this art was either directly stolen or was obtained by forced selling so in my opinion should be returned to the families it was stolen from.

  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Germany in deal to return Gurlitt's looted Matisse

    Matisse's Femme Assise [Seated Woman] was in the Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt

    Germany has signed an agreement for the return of a Matisse painting, looted by the Nazis, to the family of its original Jewish owner.
    Femme Assise [Seated Woman] was confiscated from the Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of Adolf Hitler's art dealer.
    Experts say the painting, worth an estimated $20m (£13.4m; €18.3m), was stolen from art dealer Paul Rosenberg.

    A government task force ruled last year it rightfully belonged to his heirs.

    Germany's Culture Minister Monika Gruetters has signed an agreement paving the way for the masterpiece to be handed back.

    The deal must now be approved by a court dealing with Gurlitt's estate.

    Legal disputes

    The Bavarian authorities seized some 1,280 artworks from Gurlitt's Munich flat as part of a tax evasion probe in February 2012.
    The find triggered legal disputes surrounding works seized by the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s.

    Gurlitt died in May last year aged 81, having named the Bern museum in Switzerland as his "sole heir". He had agreed to help authorities discover which works had been stolen.

    The Swiss museum agreed in November to take hundreds of artworks from the collection until their rightful owners could be identified.

    But German officials said three artworks - including Femme Assise by Henri Matisse - would be returned immediately.
    A similar agreement was signed last week for the return of a painting by Max Liebermann, Zwei Reiter am Strand [Two Riders on the Beach].


    Artworks going home

    Max Liebermann's Two Riders on the Beach is also due to be sent back to the family of the original owners

    • Henri Matisse's Femme Assise [Seated Woman] was looted from Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg and is set to be returned to his descendants, who had been looking for the piece when Gurlitt's hoard was discovered

    • Max Liebermann's Two Riders on the Beach is said to have been seized from industrialist and avid art collector David Friedmann "as a consequence of the Nazi persecution of Jewish citizens". His great-nephew, David Toren, had taken legal action against Germany for its restitution

    • Carl Spitzweg's Playing the Piano is to be returned to the heirs of music publisher Henri Hinrichsen, who was murdered at Auschwitz in 1942


    Gurlitt's father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was ordered by Adolf Hitler to deal in works that had been seized from Jewish families, or which the Nazis considered "degenerate" and had been removed from German museums in the 1930s and 1940s.

    Matisse's Femme Assise, painted in 1921, was taken from Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg in Paris in 1941.

    His family had been searching for it until it turned up in Gurlitt's flat.
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  15. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks Diane.:)
  17. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    When a trove of 1,500 artworks hoarded by the son of a Nazi-era art dealer was discovered in 2012, an investigation began to find out how many were looted from Jewish owners.

    Eventually only 14 were conclusively identified as looted, and now Germany has declared the last of those works has been returned to the owner's heirs.

    Gurlitt's last Nazi-looted work returned to owners
    Ramiles and Marco like this.
  18. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Only 14 of 1500......... My eyebrow is raised!
  19. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

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