Experts Recommend That German City Return Nazi-Looted Franz Marc Painting

Artnet 14 April 2021
By Claire Selvin

Franz Marc's 1913 painting Foxes.

Experts have said that the city of Düsseldorf should return a Nazi-looted Franz Marc painting to the heirs of its owner. According to a report by Monopol Magazine, Marc’s 1913 painting Die Füchse (Foxes) is the subject of a restitution case with the city’s cultural committee.

The work has been in the Düsseldorf City Art Collection since 1962. Its original owner was the Jewish businessman and banker Kurt Grawi, who bought the painting in 1928 and fled Europe to Chile after being imprisoned at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany. In a letter from 1939, Grawi wrote that the sale of Foxes in New York would fund his emigration from Europe.

The Art Newspaper reports that Foxes is estimated to be worth €15 million–€30 million (about $18 million–$36 million). Last month, the publication reported that Germany’s advisory panel on Nazi-looted art had recommended that the city of Düsseldorf return the painting to Grawi’s heirs.

The heirs have been working toward the restitution of the painting for the past few years, and the city of Düsseldorf initially rejected their claims on the grounds that the sale of the work was made outside the Nazi regime.

Düsseldorf’s cultural committee is expected to make a recommendation regarding the return of the painting to the heirs on Thursday. Markus Stoetzel, who represents Grawi’s heirs, said last month that they are “happy that the advisory commission has recognized his suffering under the Nazis and the context of pressure and necessity in which he sold this work,” though they had not yet finalized their plans for the artwork.
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