News

Beverly Cassirer, whose family demanded return of $30-million painting looted by Nazis, dies waiting
Los Angeles Times 21 February 2020
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Painting stolen by Nazis from Ukraine during WW2 to be returned from U.S
UNIAN 20 February 2020
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Ein weiterer Fall von Raubkunst - Another case of looted art
Basler Zeitung 19 February 2020
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Renaissance statue that was stolen by Nazis and given to Goering to be returned to rightful owners
Daily Telegraph 19 February 2020
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Restitution de 17 objets d’art spoliés, faisant partie des œuvres dites Musées nationaux Récupération (« MNR ») aux ayants droit de Lucy Jonquet
Ministère de la Culture 13 February 2020
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Magdeburg Court on Deletion of Entry in Lost Art Database
Dispute Resolution Germany 12 February 2020
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High Court Urged to Hear Nazi Art Theft Case, With Dealer Saying NY State Decisions Should Give Way
New York Law Journal 11 February 2020
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The Times view on returning artefacts: Spoils of History
The Times 10 February 2020
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Universities give back relics after pressure over ‘colonial wrongs’
The Times 10 February 2020
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Raubkunst in Schweinfurt: Museumsleiter verweist auf Stiftung - Looted art in Schweinfurt - Museum director defers to the Foundation
Main Post 10 February 2020
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The Mystery of the Painting in Gallery 634
New York Times 8 February 2020
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Greta Beer, Who Fought Swiss Banks for Family Assets, Dies at 98
New York Times 6 February 2020
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Koninklijke Bibliotheek bezit nazi-roofkunst - The Royal Library has Nazi-looted Art
De Standaaard 4 February 2020
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Painting looted by Nazis found in Royal Library of Belgium
The Brussels Times 4 February 2020
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German court rules in favour of Nazi-looted art database, although owners say a listing makes works unsellable
The Art Newspaper 4 February 2020
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Sotheby’s Post-Brexit London Sale Income Takes a Dive
New York Times 4 February 2020
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Fragile Gerechtigkeit - Fragile Justice
Sueddeutsche Zeitung 1 February 2020
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Websites and Resources

Lexicon of Austrian Provenance Research - Lexikon der österreichischen Provenienzforschung
A digitised encyclopaedia of provenance research on individuals and institutions in Austria between 1930 and 1960
click to visit
Weltkunst 1927-1944
The journal of the German and international art market digitised by the Heidelberg University Library, making it possible to search for artworks, collectors, auctions or museums from the Weimar Republic to the Nazi era.
click to visit
Bundesarchiv B323 Records on Nazi looting and restitution
Files, documents and photographs from various sources that contributed to the identification, clarification of  ownership and restitution of looted cultural property after 1945 in Germany.
click to visit
Mapping the Lives
Biographical details of over 400,000 people from the 1939 German Minority Census, expanded with data from verifiable archival sources.
click to visit
Looted Cultural Assets
Four German libraries - the Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Library, the Freie Universität Berlin University Library, the Potsdam University Library, and the Berlin Central and Regional Library - have created a joint website with the provenance details of over 12,000 books which may be looted. For more information click here.
click to visit
UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws
Provides access to national laws currently in force (with translations), import/export certificates, contact details for national authorities and addresses of official national websites dedicated to the protection of the cultural heritage.
click to visit
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
Polish Wartime Losses
Launched on 2 February 2011 by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and including missing paintings from public and private collections by Raphael, Van Dyck, Rubens and others, reflecting the 70% of Poland's art lost to the Nazis.
click to visit
ERR Database
The Nazi records and photographs of the looting of more than 20,000 objects from Jews in France and Belgium. Click here for background details.
click to visit
Galerie Heinemann
c 43,500 paintings and c 13,000 persons and institutions associated with their acquisition or sale by the Munich art dealer Galerie Heinemann from 1890 to 1939.  Click here for the full background.
click to visit
Hungary on Trial: Herzog Collection
The history of the family, a copy of the July 2010 lawsuit filed in New York and photos of the artworks.
click to visit
'Degenerate Art' / Aktion 'Entartete Kunst' website
The fate of more than 21,000 artworks condemned as “degenerate” by the Nazis and seized from German museums in 1937.  Click here for background details. 
click to visit
Central Collecting Point Munich Database
Index cards and photographs of the 170,000 works of art collected up by the Allies at the end of the war and inventoried from 1945 till 1951.
click to visit
Hitler's Linz Collection
A searchable, illustrated catalogue of the 4,731 works of art found by the Allies in the Linz Collection, with provenance details. Click here for detailed information.
click to visit
The Austrian National Fund
Hundreds of looted objects in Austrian public collections available for restitution.
click to visit

Conferences and Events

Digitization and the State-of-the-Art(world), Assessing Initiatives in Online Cataloguing and Linked Data, Conference, Wildenstein Plattner Institute, New York, 5 March 2020

A critical exploration of issues in the field of digital cataloguing, featuring professionals in art historical cataloguing and dat. For full details, click here

La galerie Cassirer et l’exil entre Berlin, Amsterdam et Londres – Vente forcée ou sauvetage de l’oeuvre « dégénérée » ? Lecture, INHA, Paris, 5 March 2020, 18.30-20.00

Walter Feilchenfeldt and his daughter Christina, son and granddaughter of the German Jewish art dealer, and managers of the Cassirer family archive, give a history of the gallery and discuss the issue of "Fluchtkunst" (flight art) in the context of the debate on restitution. For full details, click here.

Restitution & Return: Art Law in Europe, Conference, John Cabbot University Rome, 6 March 2020

Featuring world-class attorneys and industry representatives who will discuss recent developments and current challenges from both the European and U.S. perspective. For full details of the programme and to register, click here.

Trust and Transparency in the Art and Heritage World and its Practices, MACCH Annual Conference, Maastricht, 15-17 March 2020

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1970 UNESCO “Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property” and the 25th anniversary of the 1995 UNIDROIT “Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects” and looking at how trust in arts and heritage practices can be (re-)established, forms of opacity in arts and heritage practices, and the possible benefits of increased transparency for the art and heritage world. For full details, click here.

Terms of Art: Understanding the Mechanics of Dispossession During the Nazi Period, Symposium, 7-8 May 2020, HCPO, New York

To explore the methods of involuntary loss from a historical, art historical and practical basis. Registration now open here. For further details about the symposium, click here.

The Siena Program, Tulane-Siena Institute for International Law, Cultural Heritage, and the Arts, Siena, Italy, 24 May-19 June 2020

Exploring the relationship between international law and art itself, as both physical and intellectual property. For further details, click here.

Jewish Collectors and Patterns of Taste (c.1850-1930), Workshop, Musee Camondo, Paris. 22-23 June 2020

Part of the AHRC-funded project ‘The Jewish Country House: Objects, Networks, People’, speakers are invited to reflect on the role of Jewish collectors in the transmission of artistic ideas at a national as well as supra-national level, and on their contribution to the evolution of taste through cosmopolitan exchanges and cultural transfers. For full details, click here.

Jüdisches Kulturerbe: Sammlungen und ihre Orte (Jewish cultural heritage: collections and their locations), Conference, Munich, 6-8 July 2020

The fourth international workshop of the Network of Jewish Cultural Heritage will explore the diverse collections of Jewish cultural heritage as a reflection of history and culture and aims to examine them from different scientific perspectives. Call for papers by 29 February 2020. For full details, click here.

Jewish dealers and the European Art Market, Workshop, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 14-15 September 2020

On Jewish dealers and their contribution to the development of the art market in Europe in the period c.1850-1930. Speakers are invited to reflect on the mechanisms by which Jews were able to enter the art trade in the late 19th century and become influential within it; the commercial and familial bonds forged within and between Jewish businesses in the urban centres of Europe; and the nature of the relations between Jewish and non-Jewish actors, in order to illuminate any distinctive practices and the incidence of anti-Semitism. For full details, click here.

Call for Papers, Raub ohne Restitution? Die Justiz und die Rückerstattung von ‚arisiertem‘ Vermögen (Looting without Restitution? The Judiciary and the Return of 'Aryanised' Assets) , 22. Jahrestagung des „Forum Justizgeschichte“, Deutsche Richterakademie in Wustrau am Ruppiner See, 25-27 September 2020

The role played by the German judiciary in the delayed restitution of looted art by Germany, from resistance to it after the war fuelled by persisting antisemitism and the direct continuity of the personnel who managed the looting and were now managing the restitution, to its legal handling in the courts where formal disputes about 'ascertainable assets' were heard, and the application of Allied restitution law in the former East Germany after reunificiation. Call for papers by 13 April 2020, For full details, click here.

Dissent and Displacement - A Modern Story Exhibition, New Walk Museum, Leicester, England, 8 February-19 April 2020

Contemporary printmaker Monica Petzal explores opposition, persecution and persistence inspired by her German Jewish refugee heritage and the German Expressionist collection in Leicester. Interweaving threads of family, politics, culture and art, the narratives range from the rise of National Socialism in 1930s Germany to the life of a Syrian refugee doctor in Leicester today. For further details, click here.

The Ephrussis. Travel in Time, Exhibition, Jewish Museum Vienna, 6 November 2019-13 April 2020

The story of the Ephrussi family, depicted in 'The Hare with Amber Eyes', through the focus of selected objects, documents and pictures and the stories they tell about the family who once collected them, held them in their hands, passed them on and found them again. For full details, click here.

Concealed Histories: Uncovering the Story of Nazi Looting, Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum London, 6 December 2019-10 January 2021

Curated by Jacques Schuhmacher and Alice Minter, Curator of the Gilbert Collection, the display – the first of its kind by a UK museum – uncovers eight stories of Jewish collectors and their families under the Nazis and forms part of the V&A's commitment to proactive research into the provenance of the items in its care. For full details, click here.

Publications

Dissent and Displacement
February 2020
Monica Petzal. Celebrating storytelling and the ways in which we reflect on our lives, Monica Petzal explores German-Jewish refugee heritage, the themes of persecution, opposition and persistence through a series of 36 large-scale handmade lithographs. The book complements the exhibition 'Dissent and Displacement - A Modern Story'.
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The Nazi Confiscation of Wanda Landowska’s Musical Collection and Its Aftermath
January 2020
Carla Shapreau . About the renowned harpsichordist and piano soloist, Wanda Landowska, a Polish Jew, whose musical collection was confiscated by the Nazi Sonderstab Musik in Paris in May 1940 and transported to Germany, some of it found by the Allies in May 1945. Carla Shapreau documents this history,what was recovered and how much remains missing today.  
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Terezín Declaration – Ten Years Later: Conference Proceedings
January 2020
The published proceedings of the international academic conference held in Prague on 18-19 June, 2019 which reviewed progress since the 2009 Terezin Declaration are available here.
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The Demise of the World of the Gutnajers: The Warsaw Art Market in World War II
January 2020
Nawojka Cieslinska-Lobkowicz. Nawojka Cieslinska-Lobkowicz explores the salons of the brothers Bernard and Abe Gutnajer, among a substantial number of Jewish art and antiques dealers who operated in pre-World War II Warsaw. Virtually everyone in their milieu perished in the Warsaw ghetto or Treblinka. Taking their place were new “Aryan” dealers and a clientele of “new” money. The Warsaw art market under the German occupation experienced a particular growth between the start of the Jewish ghetto’s liquidation in mid-1942 and the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, as “abandoned” property flooded the market.
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Museumsblätter. Mitteilungen des Museumsverbandes Brandenburg
December 2019
Provenienzforschung: Bilanz und neue Wege: NS-Raubgut in technikhistorischen Sammlungen, Kriegsverluste märkischer Sammlungen, SBZ und DDR im Fokus der Provenienzforschung, Globale Geschichte in lokalen Museen?
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Morton Bernath. Ein Kunsthistoriker wird Kunsthändler
October 2019
Anja Heuß. About the Jewish art historian and dealer Morton Bernath, who had to liquidate his dealership in Stuttgart in 1933. Parts of his stock were auctioned at Hugo Helbing in July 1934.
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Documenting the Violin Trade in Paris: The Archives of Albert Caressa and Émile Français, 1930-1945
October 2019
Carla Shapreau, Christine Laloue, and Jean-Philippe Échard. Carla Shapreau, Christine Laloue, and Jean-Philippe Échard confront the subject of provenance in the pre-war and World War II eras through the lens of one of France’s most important violin dealers.  This case study bridges the archival gap between historical records held by the Smithsonian Institution and the Musée de la musique penned by the Parisian violin dealers Caressa & Français and later Emile Français.
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The Transfer of Jewish-owned Cultural Objects in the Alpe Adria Region
September 2019
Proceedings of the 2017 Lucca conference with papers by Victoria Reed, Gisèle Lévy, Iva Pasini Trzec, Darija Alujevic, Antonija Mlikota, Dario Brasca, Camilla Da Dalt, Cristina Cudicio, Elena Franchi, Gabriele Anderl, Anneliese Schallmeiner, Irene Bolzon, Fabio Verardo, Antonia Bartoli, Francesca Coccolo and Caterina Zaru. Subjects include Jewish collections in Croatia and Trieste, confiscation of Austrian Jewish collections in Trieste, the dispossession of Italian Jews, and collaborators, post-war trials and restitution.
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Hitler's Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich
September 2019
On the fate of the Gurlitt collection and the definitive story of art in the Third Reich and Germany’s ongoing struggle to right the wrongs of the past.
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Circulation of Cultural Objects in Russian Law – An Overview
August 2019
Yulianna Vertinskaya. An introduction to the Russian Federation’s cultural property legislation, focusing on the civil and criminal law provisions for cultural property acquisition, commerce, and protection.
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Art and Alternative Dispute Resolution
August 2019
Claudia S. Quiñones Vilá. An overview of the ongoing challenges to cultural heritage preservation in the EU, focusing on the UK and Italy, and presenting recommendations for improvement, from a non-EU citizen’s perspective.
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Examining The Policy Implications Of The Cassirer Decision
July 2019
William L. Charron. Lawyer William L. Charron on the recent ruling in Cassirer v Thyssen-Bornemisza  Collection Foundation. Charron explores the importance of comity, the facts and outcome in the case, the real question posed by the court whether Spain’s relevant commercial laws are ‘Just and Fair’ and the fairness of the outcome. He concludes that 'a good faith possessor who prevails on the basis of a choice of law ruling and comity, like TBC, succeeds justly. The policy reasons behind such a decision may not accord with sentiments behind the Washington Principles, but those reasons are no less important and worthy.'  
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llicit trade in cultural goods in Europe
July 2019
Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (European Commission) . The EU's final report on characteristics, criminal justice responses and an analysis of the applicability of technologies in the combat against the trade, available as a PDF on this site.
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Spurensuche in der Stadtbibliothek Hannover. Forschungen zu NS-Raubgut in Erwerbungen nach 1945 - Search for clues in the city library Hanover. Research on Nazi looted property in acquisitions after 1945
July 2019
Jenka Fuchs. The Stadtbibliothek (StB) Hannover is currently searching for Nazi-looted property in its collections as part of a provenance research project.While most Nazi-looted research projects at libraries have so far focused on the review of access between 1933 and 1945, the StB follows a newer approach by (also) examining post-war acquisitions. The publication is available on this site.
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 Bibliographies on all aspects of looted art, the art trade, archives and restitution, click here.

For details of the most recent international resources, click here and also see below, Online Resources and Case News.

To subscribe to our looted art newsletter, click here.

NEW

27 January 2020: EHRI publishes early Holocaust testimony online

As the persecution and mass murder of European Jews unfolded, and shortly after the liberation, activists set out to document the fate of their communities. Jewish historical committees in several countries collected documents, artifacts and testimonies and brought together a major body of evidence - yet one which was later forgotten or used reluctantly. EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure) for the first time, brings together samples of early testmonies of Jewish witnesses and survivors taken before the 1960s. The testimonies are all on the site in their original form and langauge, and there is also an English translation of every text. To visit the site, click here.

23 January 2020: Launch of Proveana, a new research database at the German Lost Art Foundation (DZK)

Launched only in German and in Germany, and aiming to make the content "transparently accessible", the database contains the results of provenance and associated research projects funded by the DZK, the data from which has not previously been transparent or accessible. Search categories include people, businesses, events, collections, provenance information, objects, and further documentary sources, and content includes that of the Lost Art database.

Although the DZK states, in the only English language text about it on the site, that "Proveana provides assistance for those whose cultural assets were seized [and] for their descendants", no part of the database, including the registration to use it and press release about it, are in English, the language most accessible to the victims of the Nazis and their descendants. The DZK English language site makes no reference to Proveana, while the German language site features a number of documents about it. It seems that the DZK has no plans currently to change this. 

To read about Proveana and to access the database, click here.

Dutch Culture Minister establishes Committee to conduct comprehensive review of Dutch art restitution policy and report back by 1 October 2020

In a letter of 17 December 2019 to Holland's Council for Culture (Raad voor Cultuur), the Culture Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven reminds the Council that 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War during which large scale looting of cultural property took place from mostly Jewish owners. The current restitution policy was drawn up in 2001 in order to combat the injustice and the restitutions that had not been made by the Netherlands.

While much has been achieved, and amendments made since then, she states that there is much concern about whether the restitution policy in its current form is still adequate. In 2016 her predecessor as minister promised Parliament that the policy would be thoroughly re-evaluated in 2020, and she commands the Council to set up an advisory committee with the following remit:

  • To evaluate the current policy with particular regard to its legal and moral aspects.
  • To advise on possible improvements of the policy

She states that "In order to carry out this assignment, I expect you to hold discussions with the parties involved" and instructs the Committee 'to include at least the following aspects in its evaluation of the policy:

  • The relationship between Dutch policy and the international guideline, the Washington Principles.
  • A comparison of Dutch policy with restitution policy abroad, especially in countries with a similar  restitution policy.
  • The accessibility and familiarity of the restitution policy, with an eye for the suffering of the victims and the dialogue with their heirs.
  • The use of and need for other forms of individual restitution.
  • The three pillars of the policy and whether they require further development (the three pillars being compiling an inventory of looted art in Holland, identification identification of possible heirs of artworks in the NK collection, and restitution through the issuing of advice from the Restitutions Committee)
  • The relationship of the policy to developments in the field of heritage and restitution. Consider, for example, the recent Pechtold Committee advisory report.

She writes that she 'would like to receive the Council's advice on restitution policy before 1 October 2020, after which I will submit my response to the House of Representatives'.

To read the letter, in Dutch, click here.

13 January 2020: Fifth Newsletter of the Network of European Restitution Committes On Nazi-Looted Art

In his editorial, Clemens Jabloner, chair of the Austrian Art Restitution Board and Austrian Federal Minister of Justice, writes:

Further and closer cooperation on different questions can be expected in the future, not least the discussion of comparative law and the various legal solutions. At the conference marking the twentieth anniversary of the CIVS in November, my British counterpart in art restitution, Sir Donnell Deeny, stated publicly: “The particular element that our five committees have in common is that they are all chaired by serving or retired senior judges, and, thus, inherently qualified and disposed to provide to the parties a fair process and independent and impartial adjudication.” I am curious to find out what other similarities and points in common will be identified in the future.

To read the Newsletter, click here.

6 January 2020: Two Dutch Restitution Decisions - Dr Franz Oppenheimer and Herbert Gutmann

At the end of December 2019 the Dutch Restitutions Committee published their recommendation of restitution for 107 Meissen objects to the heirs of Dr Franz Oppenheimer. At the beginning of January 2020 they published their recommendation of restituiton for 14 Meissen objects to the heirs of Herbert Gutmann. In the Oppenheimer case the DRC concluded that it was 'highly likely' that Dr Oppenheimer 'lost possession of these objects involuntarily due to circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime' and that they should be restituted even if they were of importance to the Dutch state. In the Gutmann case, the DRC concluded the objects were 'auctioned off involuntarily, under pressure caused by circumstances directly connected with the Nazi regime. On these grounds, the Committee's opinion is that the Applicants' interests in the restitution of the objects must be given greater weight than the State's interests in retaining them'.

All 107 Oppenheimer object groups are currently 'part of the Dutch National Art Collection. Of these, 90 object groups are on loan to the Rijksmuseum. The other seventeen object groups are part of the Netherlands Art Property Collection (the NK collection) and are on loan to the Kunstmuseum Den Haag (thirteen object groups) and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (four object groups)'. The 14 Gutmann objects are currently 'in Het Loo Palace, the Rijksmuseum and the Zuiderzeemuseum. All objects are part of the Dutch National Art Collection and are the property of the Dutch State'.

To read the Oppenheimer recommendation, click here. To read the Gutmann recommendation, click here.

To read the Gutmann heirs' press release, click here.

12 December 2019: Digitisation of 3-volume Greater Berlin Address Books for 1932-1934

The Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin (ZLB) has now digitised three volumes of the Dietzler Auto-Adressbuch for Grosse-Berlin (Greater Berlin) for the years 1932-1934 and these are freely available to all users at https://digital.zlb.de/viewer/metadata/34280679/1/LOG_0000/

26 October 2019: Lost Music Project: The Nazi-Era Plunder of Music in Europe


                             Carel van Lier c. 1930. Looted and
                             restituted ivory hunting horn
                             ©The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld


The Lost Music Project seeks to reconstruct the history of musical material culture looted, confiscated, displaced, or otherwise lost during the Nazi era in occupied Europe, and the aftermath. Evolving research regarding musical manuscripts, printed music, music-related books and archives, musical instruments, and other musicalia documented in public and private archives will be posted to the Project website. In addition to new research, a goal of this project is to make both information and copies of primary source historical records accessible to the public for further research efforts and analysis. The project is led by Dr Carla Shapreau, Lecturer in art and cultural property law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Senior Fellow in the Institute of European Studies, where she is conducting cultural property research, and Curator of the Salz Collection in the Department of Music. For further informaton and to see the website, click here.

 

23 October 2019: Publication of the Fourth Newsletter of the Network of European Restitution Committes On Nazi-Looted Art

The latest Newletter has an editorial by chair of the German Commission, Hans-Jürgen Papier, who writes that the Network is important since "all commissions are dealing with similar problems in the handling of their cases, such as how to deal with gaps in the provenance of an item which, despite intensive research, can not be closed; also dealing with the so-called «Fluchtgut» is one of the aspects that are discussed intensively. For this reason, I am very confident that the network has created another important measure, which will strengthen the work of the commissions in terms of identifying and returning Nazi-looted property and finding fair and just solutions."
Elsewhere in the Newsletter is the 2018 annual report of France's CIVS; advanced notice of a report for the Network by Dr Charlotte Woodhead, to be published in November, on how each committee operates and the differences in approach in determining claims (Recommendation 3 of the 2017 Spoliation Action Plan); a report on the 2011 successful claim by the Budge heirs for three Meissen figures in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and the 'presentation' of the Austrian Art Restitution Act and the two bodies created as a result, the Commission for Provenance Research and the Advisory Board.

To read the Newsletter, click here.

17 October 2019: Claimants in the Guelph Treasure respond to Germany's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court

The claimants for the Guelph Treasure (Welfenschatz) in the possession of Germany's Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) have filed their opposition to the petition filed by the SPK and the Federal Republic of Germany in September 2019 seeking judicial review of a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholding jurisdiction over the claims. That court rejected in July 2018 and again in June 2019 the appeal by the SPK arguing that the US courts had no jurisdiction over the claim. Germany’s petition to the Supreme Court argues that the allegations concerning the Guelph Treasure were not a taking of property in violation of international law, but rather a question of the Nazis’ taking property from “their own nationals within their own territory.” In response, the claimants argue that the U.S. statute conferring jurisdiction applies to genocidal takings of property in the Holocaust, and that U.S. policy as reflected in the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act compels hearing the case.

The claimants also filed a request to return Germany to the lawsuit.  The same Court of Appeals last year ruled that the commercial activity of the SPK in the United States was insufficient under the law to obtain jurisdiction over Germany. The claimants address their argument that this reading is at odds with the statute’s text.  Germany will have the opportunity to respond in the next 30 days.

To read the claimants' brief in opposition to the German petition, click here. To read the claimants' cross-petition to return Germany to the lawsuit, click here.

10 October 2019: The Ludwig Ginsberg Collection

The Technical University of Berlin in collaboration with the Department of Modern Art History (Prof. Bénédicte Savoy) is undertaking a one-year project dedicated to the systematic examination and research of the Adolph Menzel Collection of the Berlin banker Ludwig Ginsberg (1873-1939). The extensive collection of Menzel's graphic works comprised a large number of rare prints and contained works on paper, some of them of exceptional quality and beauty. It was described in 1930 as the largest Menzel collection ever in private ownership. The Ginsberg Collection was auctioned off in several lots and is largely lost today. So far, works from the collection have appeared in the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin and at the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum in Düren. Both museums will restitute the works that have been added to their collections as a result of persecution.
The project also focuses on research into Ludwig Ginsberg's fate as a persecuted person and the aryanization of the Bank Gebrüder Ginsberg. The TU seeks proactive support for the project, especially from colleagues in provenance research and custodians of graphic collections. The project is funded by the Deutsche Zentrum Kulturgutverluste. Further information about the project and the Ginsberg family can be found here.

17 May 2019 University of Bonn: Research project on international practice in the restitution of Nazi-looted art: “Restatement of Restitution Rules”

A German government funded research project on international practice in the restitution of artworks stolen under the Nazi regime has been established. Led by Prof. Dr. Matthias Weller, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach professor of civil law, art and cultural property law at the University of Bonn, it aims "to provide a comprehensive, comparative analysis of international practice in the restitution of Nazi-looted art [and] to establish a generalized set of rules on how decisions are made based on considerations of fairness and justice. Once established, these rules can be used as guidance and support for those who make decisions and recommendations on matters of restitution."

For full details and to attend the presentation of the project in Bonn on 6 September, click here.

Seeking the owner of the 'O' Collection of Frankfurt am Main, Germany

On 18 and 19 November 1938, 43 works from the 'O.' collection of Frankfurt am Main, designated in the auction catalogue as 'non-Aryan' or 'Nichtarischer Besitz', were sold by the Hans Lange auction house in Berlin. They included paintings by Aert van der Neer, Jacob Ruysdael, Thomas Wijck, Franz von Lenbach, Adolf Lier, Caspar Scheuren, Carl Spitzweg and Adolf von Menzel. If anyone has information on the identity of the owner of the 'O' collection, please write to info@lootedart.com. To see the Lange catalogue, 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: 

Restitutions and 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.

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