Research initiative tracks artwork looted from German Jewish art collector Rudolf Mosse

Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller 1 May 2018

Mosse Art Restitution Project, managed by San Francisco law firm Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller, partners with German cultural institutions to locate artifacts stolen under Hitler's Nazi regime

, May 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Tracking down artwork that was stolen by the Nazis on the eve of World War II is no easy task. But the Mosse Art Restitution Project, representing the heirs of Rudolf Mosse, a German Jewish newspaper publisher and art collector, have succeeded, with help from German cultural organizations, in locating paintings, sculptures and other artifacts that were once part of the Mosse family's vast art collection.

The Mosse Art Restitution Project (MARP) has been working to locate art looted from the Mosse Collection with The Mosse Art Research Initiative (MARI), an unprecedented collaboration with the Free University in Berlin, the German Lost Art Foundation, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and other German museums and institutions.

MARP and its collaboration with MARI came into being through the deft guidance of San Francisco-based law firm Bartko, Zankel, Bunzel & Miller in the application of "soft" law for successful restitution of art looted by the National Socialists during World War II. Overseen by lawyer John J. Bartko, its day to day operations are handled by J. Eric Bartko. Charles LaBella, of counsel to the firm, has provided specific support to MARP in the State of New York.

"The Mosse Art Restitution Project, through its interaction with German cultural institutions, has been able to foster trust on both sides of the sensitive, but appropriate, act of the restitution of art looted by the Nazis," J. Eric Bartko said.

The Mosse Collection, which included art, antiquities, sculptures, tapestries and furniture, was looted by the Nazis from the Mosse-Palais in Berlin, in August of 1933 —just six months after Adolf Hitler became chancellor.

To date, MARP has been able to locate and restitute more than 20 individual works of art stolen from the Mosse heirs, including works by Adolf Menzel, Carl Blechen and Reinhold Begas.

The provenance researchers of the MARI team, supported by students from the Free University in Berlin, have also been able to clearly identify 24 works and even locate eight of them: These include the painting, "Dichter Wald im Frühling," by Emil Jakob Schindler, which is still in the Belvedere in Vienna, but has already been recommended for restitution, on the basis of the MARI research, by the Austrian Commission for Provenance Research. Among the other located works are the paintings, "Durch die Nacht zum Licht," by Joseph Israels (currently in Tel Aviv Museum, Israel), "Blondes Bauernmädchen am Fenster," by Anders Zorn (private property), "Schlittschuhläufer," by Carl Melchers (Arkell Museum, Canajoharie, New York) and "Die büßende Maria Magdalena," from the workshop of Peter Paul Reubens (Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany).

A new multimedia installation at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin will feature photos and information about the Mosse art collection and how the Restitution Project and Research Initiative identified and found missing artworks.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which has provided invaluable support and assistance to this research initiative, has repurchased three of the nine artworks that it has restituted to the heirs, including the sculpture, "Susanna," by Reinhold Begas, and the reclining lion sculpture, by August Gaul.

Roger Strauch, president of the Mosse Foundation, and Hermann Parzinger, the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK), will speak Wednesday at an event at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, where they will discuss the research initiative's recent successes, challenges and lessons learned.

"This collaboration is unprecedented and represents the generous spirit of the German government and the country's cultural institutions and their leadership," Mr. Strauch said. "We are also appreciative of the talented provenance community and its tenacity in this search for Mosse artifacts."

Speakers at the May 2 event include:

  • Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK)
  • Roger Strauch, Head of the Mosse Art Restitution Project and President of the Mosse Foundation
  • Frank Druffner, Acting Secretary General, Kulturstiftung der Länder
  • Uwe Hartmann, Head of the Department for Provenance Research, Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste
  • Meike Hoffmann, MARI Project Coordinator, FU Berlin
  • Christina Haak, Deputy Director General, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

To find out more, visit the MARP website at: and the MARI website at:

Media Contact:
Law Firm of Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller
J. Eric Bartko       

SOURCE Law Firm of Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller
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