German Advisory Commission recommends that Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf restitute the painting Füchse (Foxes) by Franz Marc to the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi

Beratende Kommission 26 March 2021

The Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property, chaired by Prof. Hans-Jürgen Papier, decided on February 10, 2021, in the case of the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi versus Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf to recommend that the painting Füchse (Foxes) by Franz Marc be restituted to the community of heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi. The case was decided by a majority of six votes (with three votes against).

The painting was owned by Kurt Grawi until at least February 1940. Grawi was a banker, broker and independent entrepreneur. Because of his Jewish origins, he was persecuted both individually and collectively. After the Kristallnacht pogrom, Grawi was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp for several weeks. At the end of April 1939, he emigrated via Brussels to Santiago de Chile, where he joined relatives of his wife, Else, on June 4, 1939. Grawi was allowed to take RM 10 with him. He was reliant on assistance from friends for his onward journey from Brussels. In December 1939, Else Grawi and the couple’s two sons emigrated via Italy to Chile, where they were reunited with Kurt Grawi.

A letter dated April 30, 1939, written by Kurt Grawi in Brussels shortly before he continued his onward journey to Chile, indicates that Füchse was located in Paris at that point awaiting onward shipment to New York, where it was to be sold “despite the unfavorable times”. Grawi emphasized that, for himself and his family, “the result of the sale will provide the basis for our emigration”.

The painting was sold to William and Charlotte Dieterle in New York between February and September 1940. It entered the holdings of the Städtische Kunstsammlung Düsseldorf in 1962 as a donation from Helmut Horten.

The Commission believes that the painting Füchse by Franz Marc should be restituted, even though the sale took place outside the National Socialist sphere of influence. The sale in 1940 in New York was the direct consequence of imprisonment in a concentration camp and subsequent emigration, and was so closely connected with National Socialist persecution that the location of the event becomes secondary in comparison.

The complete justification for the recommendation is available on this site here in German and here in English and on the Commission's site at
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