The New York Times reported yesterday that the German Lost Art Foundation had removed several paintings once owned by the Viennese cabaret actor Fritz Grünbaum from the Lost Art database. While the history of these objects is hotly contested, it was a particularly strange choice given that Grünbaum’s heirs just won a judgment earlier this year that the works by Schiele must be returned to them—by reason of Nazi duress. For a database that has never been suggested as an adjudication of rights but rather as a repository of notice to the world of possible title issues, it was a perplexing choice. Against the backdrop of the party that the German government and the foundation are throwing themselves in November for which few outsiders have been able to register, the explanation appears much less benign particularly against the backdrop of the government’s historical revisionism in U.S. federal court litigation.
Topics: German Lost Art Foundation, Fritz Grünbaum, New York Times, Nazi-looted art, NS Raubkunst, Egon Schiele, Seated Woman With Bent Left Leg (Torso), Kieslinger, Mathilde Lukacs, A Tragic Fate, Cornelius Gurlitt, laches, Woman in a Black Pinafore, Woman Hiding her Face, res judicata, Charles E. Ramos, Die Koordinierungsstelle für Kulturgutverluste, Magdeburg, Bavaria, Germany, Task Force, Guelph Treasure, Holocaust, National Gallery
The German government has released an initial list of twenty five works among the collection seized from the Munich (Schwabing) apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the most significant discovery of possibly looted art since the end of World War II. The list is posted at www.lostart.de, a hitherto little-known website of the Coordination Point for Cultural Losses (Die Koordinierungsstelle für Kulturgutverluste ) in Magdeburg, which administers claims for cultural losses against the German state. The website has been overwhelmed with traffic (I have yet to load the page successfully), sparking fresh criticism of the government’s handling of the issue, but giving credit where due, the Merkel government has moved swiftly to begin these disclosures. As we predicted, the national government simply could not allow this question to fester and be stonewalled; earlier this week foreign minister Guido Westerwelle noted the risk that delay posed to “trust that we have built over many decades” after World War II. The question now will be whether it continues in a comprehensive way until the full list is released.
Topics: Thinking Woman, Playing Piano, Carl Spitzweg, The Master Exploder Hantsch, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Honoré Daumier, Christoph Voll, Dompteuse, Hans Christoph, Girl at Table, Holocaust Art Restitution Project, Guido Westerwelle, Max Liebermann, Antonio Canaletto, Eugène Delacroix, Tram, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, Allegory/Allegorical Scene, View of the Seine Valley, Moorish Conversation on a Terrace, Otto Dix, Erich Fraass, Die Koordinierungsstelle für Kulturgutverluste, Wilhelm Lachnit, Entartete Kunst, Couple, Marc Chagall, Study of a Woman Nude Standing Arms Raised Hands C, Auguste Rodin, Seated Woman/Woman Sitting in Armchair, Child at Table, Magdeburg, Bonaventura Genelli, Patricia Cohen, Restitution, Fritz Maskos, Veiled Woman, Male Portrait, Female nude, Der Spiegel, World War II, degenerate art, Mother and Child, Couple in a Landscape, Ludwig Godenschweg, Théodore Rousseau, www.lostart.de, Otto Griebel, New York Times, Coordination Point for Cultural Losses, Bernhard Kretschmar, Riders on the Beach, Monk, S.A Giustina in Prà della Vale, Kunstfund München, Male Nude, Henri Matisse, Conrad Felixmüller, Woman in the Theater Box, Man and Woman in the Window