News

Looted in Mosul, sold in Munich? Germany's clampdown on illicit trade
Dalje 30 July 2015
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Poland, Make Restitution, Urge State Officials In Letter
The Jewish Week 30 July 2015
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An interview with Wesley A. Fisher on the restitution of Nazi-looted art
AMA 30 July 2015
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Finding stolen works a huge challenge
The Canadian Jewish News 29 July 2015
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Returning Nazi-looted art in Canada
The Canadian Jewish News 29 July 2015
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V&A Director Martin Roth Attacks Artists and Opponents of Germany's New Heritage Law
Artnet 29 July 2015
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Lauder Hires ACG to Pursue Nazi-Stolen Art
O'Dwyer's 27 July 2015
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Invitation is still open to fill in the provenance gaps
The Financial Times 25 July 2015
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Statute of Limitations Issues in Looted-Art Cases
The Legal Intelligencer 22 July 2015
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Senate Appropriations Committee Bill Would Give Strong Backing To State Department on Holocaust-Era Assets
Art Law Report 21 July 2015
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Tulsa World editorial: OU should return art stolen by Nazis
Tulsa World 20 July 2015
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The owners of restituted artworks have every right to sell them
Apollo 20 July 2015
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Descendant fighting for art stolen in WWII
The San Diego Tribune 18 July 2015
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Lack of provenance is not necessarily suspect
Financial Times 18 July 2015
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Georg Baselitz leads fight against German cultural minister's radical proposals
The Art Newspaper 16 July 2015
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Art dealer's 'ambulance chasers' Holocaust restitution jibe criticised
Jewish Chronicle 15 July 2015
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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Provision on Holocaust Restitution Clears Senate Hurdle
WJRO Press Release 14 July 2015
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Munich Court Requests Psychological Opinion Concerning Gurlitt’s Competence to Make Will
Art Law Report 14 July 2015
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Dealer Julian Agnew Compares Seeking Nazi Loot Restitution to “Ambulance Chasing"
Artnet 13 July 2015
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The ‘Sherlock Holmes’ of Nazi-looted art
AFP 12 July 2015
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Websites and Resources

Dutch Museums Provenance Research
Results of 'Museum Acquisitions from 1933' project showing 41 Dutch museums are in possession of at least 139 items with 'problematic' origins.
click to visit
Swiss Looted Art Portal
Opened in June 2013, this government-run site provides details of museums' provenance research, advice on making enquiries, research and claims and links to relevant databases and archives in Switzerland and beyond.
click to visit
WGA-Files - Akten der Wieder- gutmachungsämter von Berlin - Case Records of the Berlin Restitution Offices
Digitised restitution case records of the Berlin Restitution Offices held in the Landesarchiv Berlin, consisting of the record group B Rep 025, Wiedergutmachungsämter von Berlin, containing more than 800,000 files.
click to visit
European Sales Catalogues 1930-1945 Heidelberg University
3,000 digitised auction catalogues including both German-speaking countries and the countries of occupied Europe - Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland - and including every genre of cultural object, from paintings to tapestries to silver and books. Provides the entire texts of auction catalogues. Searchable by auction house, artist, work of art, etc.
click to visit
German Sales Catalogs 1930–1945 at the Getty
More than 2,000 German language sales catalogues published between 1930 and 1945 including more than 230,000 individual auction sales records for paintings, sculptures, and drawings only. Searchable by artist name and nationality, lot title, buyer or seller’s name, city in which the sale occurred, type of subject matter and other fields. Provides only individual lot details, and links to Heidelberg for the full catalogue.  
click to visit
Hermann Goering Collection
Contains 4,263 paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries and other art objects, purchased or acquired from confiscated property, many available for restitution today.
click to visit
International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property
The Portal provides for the first time digital access to millions of cultural property records from the National Archives of the US, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Ukraine, France and other archival sources.  
click to visit

Conferences and Events

Raubkunst - Kunstwerke im langen Schatten der Vergangenheit - Looted Art - Artworks in the Long Shadows of the Past, Conference, Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Germany, 25-27 September 2015

The conference is organised by the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing, a member of the Protestant Academies of Germany, and will explore issues in Germany of provenance research, the art market, how museums deal with their difficult history, the legal rights of claimants and policies of compensation and restitution. Participants include Winfried Bausback, Bavarian Minister of Justice,and Jutta Limbach, head of the German Advisory Commission. For full details, click here.

Plundered - But By Whom? Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and Occupied Europe in the Light of the Nazi-Art Looting, Conference, Prague, 21-22 October 2015

6th international conference on the confiscation, thefts and transfers of works of art as a result of Nazi rule over Czechoslovakia and Europe during the Second World War and in the post-war period organized by the Documentation Centre for Property Transfers of Cultural Assets of WWII Victims. For full details, click here.

Publications

Aviso 2015 Raubkunst und Restitution at the Bayerische Staatsgemälde-sammlungen
July 2015
Bernhard Maaz, Alfred Grimm, Meike Hopp, Stephan Klingen, Andreas Strobl, Astrid Pellengahr, Robert Bierschneider. To read the 2015 report on research and restitution at the Bavarian State Paintings Collections Munich, click here.
read more
A Critical Assessment of US Intelligence's Investigation of Nazi Art Looting
April 2015
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Prisoners of War: Nazi-Era Looted Art and the Need for Reform in the United States
March 2015
Jessica Schubert.
read more
Nazi-Looted Art from East and West in East Prussia: Initial Findings on the Erich Koch Collection
February 2015
Patricia Kennedy Grimsted.
read more
Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany
January 2015
Jonathan Petropoulos.
read more
L'Impossible Réparation
January 2015
Jean-Marc Dreyfus. A history of French negotiations with Germany between 1944 and 2001 for reparations for deportations, spoliation, war crimes and seized bank accounts.
read more
Fair and Just Solutions? Alternatives to Litigation in Nazi-Looted Art Disputes: Status Quo and New Developments
December 2014
Editor Evelien Campfens.
read more
Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust
November 2014
Michael J. Bazyler and Frank M. Turkheimer. Ten “forgotten trials” of the Holocaust, selected from the many Nazi trials that have taken place over the course of the last seven decades.
read more
Die Praxis des Sammelns. Personen und Institutionen im Fokus der Provenienzforschung
November 2014
Eva Blimlinger and Heinz Schödl (ed).
read more
Museums and Restitution, New Practices, New Approaches
September 2014
Edited by Louise Tythacott, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK, and Kostas Arvanitis, University of Manchester, UK.
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Holocaust-Era Looted Art: A Current World-Wide Overview
September 2014
Dr Wesley A. Fisher and Dr Ruth Weinberger. Report by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and World Jewish Restitution Organization
read more
Provenance Research in American Institutions
August 2014
Jane C. Milosch, Lynn H. Nicholas and Megan M. Fontanella (guest editors). A series of essays by American experts, including Nancy Yeide, Christian Huemer and Laurie Stein. 
read more
NS-Raubkunst auf der Spur: Provenienzforschung an der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek
July 2014
Susanne Wanninger and Dr Stephan Kellner. A review of provenance research conducted at the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) since 2003.
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The Vienna Archives: Musical Expropriation During the Nazi Era and 21st Century Ramifications
June 2014
Dr Carla J. Shapreau. A study on the displacement and loss of musical instruments and associated items in Austria during the Nazi-era.
read more
Der Fall Gurlitt
April 2014
Stefan Koldehoff, Ralf Oehmke and Raimund Stecker .
read more
Archivist Monuments Man: Lester K. Born
April 2014
Dr Greg Bradsher. The next installment in an ongoing series of posts on real-life Monuments Men.
read more
Die Bilder sind unter uns. Das Geschäft mit der NS-Raubkunst und der Fall Gurlitt
April 2014
Stefan Koldehoff. An updated and revised version of Stefan Koldehoff's 2009 book with a new chapter on the Gurlitt case.
read more
Monuments Men Records at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland
March 2014
Dr Greg Bradsher and Dr Sylvia Naylor.
read more

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.

All images on the site are published under fair use conditions for the purpose of criticism and research.

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 Gurlitt collection at the Kunstmuseum Bern, click here. For the full range of developments on the Gurlitt case, 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.

NEW

Lawyer Olaf Ossmann representing the heirs of Richard Semmel sends open letter to the Dutch Minister of Culture

He seeks a revision of the regulations by which the Dutch Restitutions Committee makes its decisions and asks for an assurance of an independent assessment of the Semmel claim.


On 25 April 2013 the Dutch Restitutions Committee handed down a binding decision that a 'Madonna and Child with Wild Roses' painting by Jan van Scorel now in the Centraal Museum Utrecht would not be returned to the heirs of Richard Semmel, its rightful owner, despite the Committee finding that the sale of the painting by Semmel was involuntary. Utilitisng new regulations, the Committee found that the interest of the Museum in keeping the painting it acquired in 1958 should outweight the rights of the heirs to its restitution. No compensation was offered.

The heirs subsequently took the case to the Court of Utrecht which ruled in January 2015 that the decision was invalid and that the procedures of the Committee did not provide equality for both parties. Prior to the court's ruling, the Dutch Culture Minister Mrs Bussemaker suggested to the claimants that they seek alternative dispute resolution. However, the museum refused and suggested instead that they return to the Restitutions Committee for another decision, saying they had no reason to question its procedures.
Mr Ossmann writes that the heirs' second attempt to find a new impartial ruling was through Parliament which proposed to the Minister that an ad hoc committe be set up for the purpose. The Minister asked the Chair of the Restitutions Committee to advise and he said that wa unnecessary and that the Restittuions Committee itself could re-hear the case. Despite the court having specifically ruled that the procecures and criteria of the Committee explicitly favoured the current possessor of a claimed painting, the Minister nonetheless accepted the Chair's proposal, which further ruptured the required independence between government and the Committee.
Mr Ossmann's open letter calls upon the Minister to revise the regulations which the court criticised as not providing impartial justice. He writes that it is clear that museums will not willingly give up artworks even when there is a valid claim for them.and the Committee's regulations make that the most likely outcome of any claim. Mr Ossmann further calls upon the Minister to say how the Committee could provide a different ruling given that the criteria have not changed, and seeks the provision of a fair and speedy solution for the claimants by the establishment of an ad-hoc committee which can guarantee a just, independent and impartial decision..   

To read the letter, click here.

25 June 2015: WJRO issues 'Report concerning current approaches of United States museum to Holocaust-era art claims'

Prominent U.S. museums have evaded the restitution of Nazi-looted artworks to their rightful owners and heirs by refusing to resolve claims on their facts and merits and by asserting technical defenses, such as statutes of limitations, according to a new World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) report, authored with the pro-bono assistance of the American law firm Dickstein Shapiro LLP. The report calls for three recommendations to promote merit-based resolutions of Holocaust-era claims against U.S. museums. 
These recommendations include encouraging U.S. museums to live up to the spirit of the Washington Conference Principles, Terezin Declaration and the Guidelines of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM); having the AAM ensure compliance of its member museums by withholding accreditation; and enacting legislation to extend statutes of limitations for Holocaust-era restitution claims.
American museums named in the report as improperly defending against Nazi-looted art claims include the Toledo Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. “Museums are central to a civilized society,” said Gideon Taylor, WJRO chair of operations. “The American museum community, while understandably an advocate for artwork to remain in public hands, must follow through on its prior commitments not to taint collections with art stolen during the Holocaust.”
To read the report, click here.

23 June 2015: Restitution of Adolph Menzel pastel to the heirs of Berlin publisher Rudolf Mosse (1843-1920)

    

Erna Felicia and Hans Lachmann-Mosse, Mosse’s daughter and son-in-law, were unlawfully deprived of the drawing, 'Lady with Red Blouse', shortly after the Nazi takeover in Germany in 1933. Oskar Reinhart purchased the pastel from the art dealer Fritz Nathan in Munich in 1934. He had been regularly in touch with Nathan since 1928 and later helped him escape to Switzerland in 1936. He paid 3,632 Swiss Francs, which was a customary price for high-quality drawings by Menzel at the time. In 1940, Oskar Reinhart gave the work to the foundation, which he had established to make his art collection available to the public.
Launched in 2012, the Mosse Art Restitution Project shed light on the circumstances that led to the bankruptcy of the Mosse publishing house as well as to the seizure of the collection and public auction of the objects in 1934 in Berlin. Mosse’s descendants had already left Germany. Due to these new insights, the foundation in its press release, writes that "the foundation board of the Oskar Reinhart Foundation contacted the heirs and offered to restitute the pastel, which had been expropriated from the family in 1934. Oskar Reinhart strictly avoided offers with unclear provenance in the 1930s. The foundation board is convinced that it acts in the interest of the founder by giving back a work that from today's perspective would not have been purchased by Reinhart if he had known about the exact circum-stances of the sale."

To read the full press release issued by the Foundation, click here. All missing works from the Mosse Collection are listed in the Object Database on this site. To review them, enter 'Mosse' into the Name box of the Provenance section on the Search page.

Jewish Heritage Foundation established to locate, recover, restore and return stolen Eastern European Judaica to its rightful owners

15 June 2015: Established in Boca Raton, Florida, the Foundation has identified some 113 Torah scrolls in Nizhny Novgorod in Russia and states that it is "the only organization that is dedicated to locating, recovering and restoring Judaica to communal and educational uses".
In its description of itself, the Foundation writes: "From 2011 to now, a small group of "regular" Jews from Florida came together with some of the world's leading experts in Holocaust education and museums and a group of Rabbis from Russia, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus and the United States. The timing was right. The Government officials in Russia were cooperative and recognized the importance of restoring the Judaica, which could be used to help strengthen Jewish communities in the own country and bring honor to their country.  The result was that The Foundation has successfully located, documented and started to restore 113 Torahs from the Regional Universal Scientific Library of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia."

The Foundation has identified looted Judaica in the following locations:

In Belarus - Torahs, Rare Books, Megilahs, Manuscripts & Silver: in the National Library of Belarus (NBB), the State Museum of History and Culture of Belarus in Minsk, the State Historical Archive, the Historical Museum of Mogileve, and in the Historical Museum of Vitebsk;
In Russia - Torahs, Rare Books, Megilahs, Religious Texts: in the Russian Ministry of Defense Central Archives, in the Special (Osoby) Archive (TsGOA, TsKhIDK), in the Russian State Military Archive & State Historical Museum (GIM), in the Regional Scientific Library In Nizhny Novgorod, in the Regional Library on the Volga.and in the Nizhny Novgorod Art Museum;
In Poland - Torahs, Books, Silver, Ark Curtains & Synagogue Items: in Warsaw’s National Museum, in the Krakow Historical Museum, in the National Musuem in Kielc, in the Historical Museum in Lodz and in the Regional museums in Lublin, Nowy Sacz, Tarnow, Bialoystok, Kazimierz Dolny, Rzeszow, Drohiczyn and Wlodawa;
In Romania - Torahs, Jewish Books and manuscripts;
In Ukraine - Torahs, Rare Books and Manuscripts: the National Vernadsky Library of Ukraine holds 150,000 books and manuscripts dating to the 16th Century

For further details, visit the Foundation's website at http://www.thejewishheritagefoundation.com/

4 June 2015: Ruling of Judge John Walter of California in the case of David Cassirer vs the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation

On 4 June Judge John Walter issued his ruling on the long-standing claim of the heirs of Lilly Cassirer to recover the Pissarro painting which she was forced to sell in 1939. The painting is now in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, acquired in 1976 by Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza from a New York dealer. Judge Walter ruled that Spain had title to the painting but called on the Museum to follow international principles and 'do the right thing'. To read the ruling, click here.

Online Resources and Case News
Country-specific information is available on this site for 48 countries, from Albania to Yugoslavia, in the Information by Country section. Details of important, non country-specific, online resources are available in the International section of the site which contains several categories of information.  For example: 

Case News: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or settled outside the courts with copies of reports and rulings. Full details of a comprehensive range of cases can be found in the News Archive, which is fully searchable by name of family, artwork, museum, city, etc.


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 info@lootedart.com.

© website copyright Central Registry 2015