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Welcome to lootedart.com
This site contains two fully searchable databases.
The Information Database contains information and documentation from forty nine countries, including laws and policies, reports and publications, archival records and resources, current cases and relevant websites.
The Object Database contains details of over 25,000 objects of all kinds – paintings, drawings, antiquities, Judaica, etc – looted, missing and/or identified from over fifteen countries.
For a list of Essential Website Links, showing all key research sites and resources,click here.
For details of international resources, see below, Online Resources and Case News.
For the full range of developments on the Gurlitt case since the news broke on 3 November 2013, excluding what is on the homepage, including government press releases, Allied documents 1945-1950, specialist publications, the text of the proposed Lex Gurlitt, images and details of the works in the collection, click here. For all news stories, see the News Archive. For all other materials, including ALIU reports, etc, search 'Gurlitt'.
To subscribe to our looted art newsletter, click here.
To read the complaint filed for restitution of the Guelph Treasure in the US District Court, which includes the supporting evidentiary documentation, click here.
The plaintiff, a corporation, requested that a search request for a painting be deleted from lostart.de, maintaining that the painting was confiscated from them due to Nazi persecution. There was an independent second search request on lostart.de by the successors of a Jewish bank for the same painting who also claimed that the painting had been looted from them. The painting was located in Namibia and its current possessor and the first applicant (the corporation) agreed to auction off the painting and split the proceeds. The painting, however, was then withdrawn from the auction after the Koordinierungsstelle refused to take the painting off the lostart.de database without the consent of the second applicant (the Jewish bank).
The German court of first and second instance had decided in favour of the first applicant (the corporation). They found that the mandate of the database was fulfilled once the painting was located so that upholding the search request on the database would interfere with the rights of the first applicant (the corporation). However, on 19 February 2015 the Federal Administrative Court of Germany reversed the decisions of the courts of prior instance and dismissed the complaint of the plaintiff, judging that the plaintiff does not have a claim under public law and that the search request did not become unlawful with the discovery of the painting as there was no certainty yet as to fate and history of the painting.
To read the ruling of the court and a full English summary of the case and the ruling, click here.
Statement of the Kunstmuseum Bern, in agreement with the relevant German authorities, on the restitution of artworks from the Gurlitt Art Collection
20 February 2015: By signing the agreement, the Kunstmuseum Bern relinquished any entitlement to pictures suspected of being looted art as early as November 24, 2014. This is also true for the picture Seated Woman by Henri Matisse. Since then, the BKM (the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media), in agreement with the KMB, is endeavoring to obtain the necessary evidence of the claimant’s entitlement to restitutions from the attorneys representing the Rosenberg family. What has been submitted to date falls short of the requirements—just as in the cases of the two other restitutions that have been assented to. The necessary documents for proving entitlement to inherit of individual members of the respective community of heirs have been requested several times, accompanied by necessary explanations both in writing and orally. Mr. Marinello, the legal representative of the Rosenberg heirs, sent documents proving entitlement to inherit to the BKM with a letter dated January 23, 2015, and on February 14, 2015, agreed to send the missing documents and evidence at a later date.
In addition, now that Mrs. Uta Werner is contesting the will, restitution can only be arranged in agreement with the executor appointed by the probate court in Munich, who must consider the interests of all the possible heirs (legal heirs and the KMB). And, as long as the curatorship of the estate lasts, will probably also obtain the required approval of the probate court. To the best of our knowledge, the BKM is currently settling a restitution agreement with the executor on both the Matisse and the Liebermann paintings—of which the claimants have been informed. This will require additional time. For these two reasons no restitution has been possible as yet.
Pending Certificate of Inheritance Proceedings Cause Delays
The Bern Kunstmuseum's decision of November to establish a Gurlitt research body has been delayed because of the pending inheritance claim by Cornelius Gurlitt's cousin. The role of the research body will be to investigate all works and present its findings to the German Task Force which has sole decision-making power. Art historian Prof. Dr. Oskar Bätschmann will be supervisor of the research body and he will be assisted by three yet to be appointed research associates, all reporting to Bern's Trustees in the first instance. The research body will operate for six years with initial funding secured for the first twelve months. The Board regrets the delay occasioned by the inheritance dispute which means that even processing the restitution cases of the Matisse, Liebermann, and Spitzweg, which have already been clarified and endorsed by the Kunstmuseum Bern, will be impeded as long as the dispute about the inheritance is ongoing.
To read the press release as a pdf, click here
3 February 2015: The Commission has turned down the claim against the Dusseldorf Museum for the painting Pariser Wochentag by Adolf von Menzel on the grounds that its loss was not due to persecution of its Jewish owner George E Behrens, one of the owners of the bank Bankhaus L Behrens & Sons. While accepting that Behrens was subject to persecution and fled Germany as a result, the Commission rejected the claim that the painting was sold in 1935 as a result. Although there is no evidence that Behrens received the sale proceeds, the Commission took this as evidence that he probably did, asserting that in 1935 he could have had free access to his financial assets. To read the full ruling of the Commission, click here.
At the inaugural meeting of the new Foundation - the Stiftung Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste - in the Federal Chancellery in Berlin a board of 15 trustees from the federal, state and municipal associations was established. Culture Minister Monika Grütters was appointed chair of the board, and Stephan Dorgerloh, Culture Minister of the state of Saxony, where the Centre is based, deputy chair. The art historian, Professor Dr Uwe M. Schneede, was appointed managing director of the board by Monika Grütters for what she called his reputation and commitment to provenance research which she said provides the Centre with the necessary national and international standing. A new Research Council is to be chaired by Dr Hermann Simon of the Centrum Judaicum in Berlin, whom Monika Grütters said brought into the Centre the perspective of the victims and their interests. The Council will evaluate project applications. Directives and authorisation policies were adopted. Guidelines were expanded to include private individuals and institutions which will now be able to apply for funding to undertake provenance research if their research can be shown to be in the public interest. Funding from the Federal Government will triple in 2015 from 2m euros to 6m euros. The Centre will move into its new building in Magdeburg in April.
To read the government's press release, click here.
2 January 2014: The Getty Research Institute has now catalogued and made available in its Series Vl of the records of M Knoedler & Co a finding aid to the Gallery's correspondence records. These are primarily the correspondence files maintained by the New York office, but they also contain files from the firm's other offices in London, Paris and Chicago. The bulk of the series are letters received by the New York and London offices between 1879 and 1971. These generally concern possible sales or purchases of artworks and include letters of inquiries about sales,negotiations of prices, appraisals,loans of artworks for exhibitions, and occasionally personal notes. The interoffice correspondence includes notes or instructions directed to staff and information about sales, potential sales, clients, collectors, and collections, as kept by each office. There is also the correspondence of the firm's library which concerns requests for documentation and illustrations of artworks, inquiries about publications, and includes letters received from the firm's library in London. Already available are finding aids and a database of the firm's stock book records, sales books and commission books.
"Our goal is for you to be able to walk down any street in Europe and learn the Holocaust history of that specific place."
Tracing the Past is a non-profit organization based in Berlin and launched at the end of October 2014 dedicated to the research and memorialization of the persecuted in Europe 1933-1945. Its first project has been to create a database from the 1939 German Minority Census. As a result, approximately two-thirds of the nearly 170,000 Shoah victims from Germany are now searchable for the first time by residential street address here.
Mapping the Lives is a proposed project dedicated to creating biographies, online maps and smartphone applications pinpointing the residential street addresses of all known victims of the Nazi Regime who were persecuted for reasons of race, religion, political views, resistance, sexual orientation, social orientation, and physical or mental incapacity.
9 September 2014: The records of the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) are available through the International Research Portal on their website (Holocaust Era Assets records) as a free collection on the online database Fold3. To access the records, register for a free Fold3 member account.
To read more about the NARA records available on Fold3, click here.
Lawsuits: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or being settled in court with copies of court filings and judgements.
Research Resources: provides details of family records, tracing services, art historical resources, texts of post-war reports, and books and publications.
Web Resources: provides details of various online databases of looted paintings, results of provenance research in countries around the world, archival records available online and other research materials.
Seeking Owners of Identified Looted Property: provides lists of names of individuals whose looted property has been identified in institutions in Germany and whose heirs are being sought.
Other categories of information include Governmental Conferences and Hearings, Laws, Policies and Guidelines, Art Trade, and Press, Television, Radio and Film. To explore all these sections, click here.
The site is regularly updated with new resources and developments. To provide details of resources or cases to add to the site, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.