News

Forum: Should the Kunstmuseum Bern have accepted the Gurlitt bequest?
Apollo 30 March 2015
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Gurlitt Bequest to Kunstmuseum Bern is Upheld, Little Else Resolved
Art Law Report 30 March 2015
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Journalist lässt Kritik nicht gelten - Journalist rejects criticism
Neue Zürcher Zeitung 30 March 2015
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How Nazis’ stolen art sparked a battle for the Woman in Gold
The Observer 29 March 2015
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Vienna museum director calls for time limit on Nazi-loot restitution claims
The Art Newspaper 30 March 2015
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German Court Upholds Bequest of Gurlitt Collection to the Kunstmuseum Bern
New York Times 27 March 2015
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Tate seeks rethink over 'looted' Constable seascape
BBC News 27 March 2015
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Gurlitt-Taskforce weist Vorwürfe der Grünen zurück - Task Force rejects accusations of Greens
Dpa 27 March 2015
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German court rejects challenge to collector Gurlitt's will
AP 26 March 2015
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Schnellste Aufklärung? - Quick Clarification?
Süddeutsche Zeitung 26 March 2015
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Gericht lehnt Antrag von Gurlitt-Cousine ab - Court rejects challenge by Gurlitt cousin
Die Welt 26 March 2015
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Museum highlights Army’s real-life ‘Monuments Men’
Fort Hood Sentinel 26 March 2015
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Germany to return looted Matisse painting from Gurlitt trove
AFP 25 March 2015
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Multi-million pound El Greco masterpiece stolen by the Nazis in 1944 finally returned to rightful owners after 70-year search
Daily Mail 25 March 2015
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Looted El Greco returned to heirs of rightful owner
AP 24 March 2015
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Deal reached on return of Nazi-looted Matisse
AFP 24 March 2015
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El Greco Stolen by Nazis and Sold by Knoedler Returns to Rightful Owners
Artnet 24 March 2015
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Von heißen und edlen Männern - Of hot and noble men
Der Standard 24 March 2015
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Looted El Greco returned to rightful heirs
Deutsche Welle 24 March 2015
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German Authorities Criticised For Bureaucratic "Bullying" Over Gurlitt Nazi Restitution Case
Artlyst 24 March 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

The Stedelijk Museum & The Second World War, Exhibition, Amsterdam 27 February-31 May 2015

For full details, click here.

Restoring a Legacy: Rothschild Family Treasures, Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 1 March–21 June 2015

A celebration of the recent gift of works of art from the collection of the Viennese Rothschilds. For further details, click here.

Karl Blechen’s Scholastica painting from the Rudolf Mosse collection, Exhibition, 19 March - 7 June 2015, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

For further details, click here.

L'art dégénéré selon Hitler - Degenerate Art According to Hitler, Exhibition, Cité Miroir Liège, 16 October 2014 - 29 March 2015

Organised by the City, Museums and University of Liège, MNEMA and Les Territoires de la Mémoire. For full details, click here.

Training Program in Art Provenance Research, New York Law School, April and May 2015

Three two day workshops organised by NYLS and HARP. For full details, click here.

CFP: Summer University: Primary Sources at Work. Nazi Looted Art, Centre Pompidou Paris, 2-11 July 2015

For full details, click here.

Publications

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.
read more
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
Ravaged. Art and Culture in Times of Conflict
March 2014
Jo Tollebeek and Eline van Assche (eds.). A publication accompanying the exhibition Ravaged at the M - Museum Leuven.
read more
Reviewing the Agudas Chasidei Chabad v. Russian Federation, et al. Dispute
March 2014
Irina Tarsis and Elizabeth Varner.
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Spurensuche: Silber aus ehemals jüdischem Besitz im Sammlungsbestand des Münchner Stadtmuseums
March 2014
Vanessa Voigt. A review of silver objects formerly in Jewish ownership in the holdings of the Münchner Stadtmuseums
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The Struggle for the Files: The Western Allies and the Return of German Archives after the Second World War
February 2014
Astrid M Eckert.
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The Loss of French Musical Property During World War II: Post-War Repatriations, Restitutions, and 21st Century Ramifications
January 2014
Carla Shapreau. The nature and scope of French music-related losses during the Nazi era, the status of post-war recoveries, and what remains missing today.
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

26 March 2015 Dutch Restitutions Committee rejects Stettiner family claim

        
The decision concerns the painting Old Man with Beard by Salomon Koninck (1609-1656).
At the beginning of the Second World War the painting was sold by the art gallery Firma D. Katz in Dieren to the German Alois Miedl, who shortly before had taken over the Amsterdam gallery J. Goudstikker N.V. The work was then sold on to an art buyer acting for Adolf Hitler’s proposed Führer Museum.
In an exhibition catalogue produced by Katz in 1939, the entry about the Salomon Koninck work mentions ‘Stettiner, Paris’ as one of the former collections. According to the applicants this refers to the Jewish Stettiner family and/or the Stettiner et Cie. gallery in Paris.
No information was found during the Restitutions Committee’s investigation about the moment at which the painting left the possession of ‘Stettiner, Paris’.
The Restitutions Committee concluded that the right of ownership of the Stettiner family and/or the Stettiner et Cie. gallery in Paris during the period relevant to the restitution application is not highly probable, and it therefore advised the Minister to reject the applicants’ claim to the artwork.
To read the full report, click here.

Publication of Review of the UK Spoliation Advisory Panel 24 March 2015

The government appointed independent review of the UK Panel praises the work of the Panel to date and makes several recommendations. These include that the membership be refreshed, that further members from the museum and fine arts sectors be added, that the Terms of Reference remain the same but that the conduct of museums not be considered relevant in assessing a claim, that a "fast-track, small claims procedure" be established, and that "legitimate public comments by members [of the panel] is incompatible with membership". To read the Report, click here. To read the UK Culture Minister's response to the recommendations, click here

Digitisation of the Duveen Brothers Records March 2015
Sir Joseph Duveen, who was among the most prominent art dealers of the first half of the 20th century, gained international fame for selling European Old Master paintings, antique furnishings, and other objets d'art to American collectors for record prices. Founded by Joseph Duveen's father and uncle in the late 1860s, Duveen Brothers experienced its greatest success during Joseph's tenure as president of the firm, 1909 to 1939.
The business archive of the Duveen firm is preserved in the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute. It contains a vast amount of material including stock books, sales books, invoice books, shipping receipts, customer ledgers, loose photographs, 2,000 glass negatives, and hundreds of correspondence files that include letters to, from, and about clients, museums, scholars, and other dealers.
In 2006, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, placed on deposit at the Research Library a large number of additional archival materials relating to Duveen Brothers, including scrapbooks, photo albums, research files, restoration photographs, and authentication certificates. These items had constituted part of the Duveen Brothers library, which was acquired by the Clark Art Institute in the 1960s.

For full details, click here.
A Study by Professor Michel Flamée of the decision of the City of Ghent not to restitute Oskar Kokoschka's 'Portrait of Ludwig Adler' to the grandchildren of Victor von Klemperer

In June 2011 the City of Ghent turned down the claim of the von Klemperer heirs to the painting, now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent. The panel it had appointed concluded that the painting was not sold under pressure and that its ownership by Ghent was indisputable both in Private International Law and in the context of post-war Allied and West German restitution laws.

Professor Flamée, a distinguished Belgian lawyer, has analysed the decision, examining whether the panel correctly drew the line between fairness and arbitrariness in accordance with the Washington Principles. He questions whether the panel should have been tasked with combining the two different approaches, 'positive law' and 'fairness', looks at whether the panel took into account all known facts and whether, when taken into account, a different decision might have been reached. He investigates who bears the burden of proof and for which facts, and queries whether any part of the burden should have rested on the claimant. Finally, he explores the concept of fairness and how the prescription of fairness derived from Washington might apply to works of art acquired prior to 1998. 

 

The study, is published by kind permission of Professor Flamée. To read it, click here. The original decision of Ghent is available here.

Images published under fair use conditions for the purpose of criticism and research.

Claims Procedures: An Investigation by the Central Registry

The Central Registry is keen to solicit information and views about the handling of claims, whether at the point of submission, the process of consideration or the point of decision. There are few guidelines in most countries and museums, and the decision-making process is not often obvious or transparent. The Central Registry wishes to shed light on the experience of those submitting claims and those assessing claims. It will treat all information provided in confidence and will publish compilations of its findings, subject to stipulations of confidentiality, in an ongoing series. To contact us, please write in confidence to info@lootedart.com.

Complaint filed on 23 February 2015 Philipp and Stiebel v Federal Republic of Germany and the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz

To read the complaint filed for restitution of the Guelph Treasure in the US District Court, which includes the supporting evidentiary documentation, click here.

19 February 2013: Press Release Bundesverwaltungsgericht (German Federal Administrative Court) regarding a case seeking to delete registration of looted artworks at www.lostart.de

The plaintiff, a corporation, requested that a search request for a painting be deleted from lostart.de, maintaining that the painting was confiscated from them due to Nazi persecution. There was an independent second search request on lostart.de by the successors of a Jewish bank for the same painting who also claimed that the painting had been looted from them. The painting was located in Namibia and its current possessor and the first applicant (the corporation) agreed to auction off the painting and split the proceeds. The painting, however, was then withdrawn from the auction after the Koordinierungsstelle refused to take the painting off the lostart.de database without the consent of the second applicant (the Jewish bank).

The German court of first and second instance had decided in favour of the first applicant (the corporation). They found that the mandate of the database was fulfilled once the painting was located so that upholding the search request on the database would interfere with the rights of the first applicant (the corporation). However, on 19 February 2015 the Federal Administrative Court of Germany reversed the decisions of the courts of prior instance and dismissed the complaint of the plaintiff, judging that the plaintiff does not have a claim under public law and that the search request did not become unlawful with the discovery of the painting as there was no certainty yet as to fate and history of the painting.


To read the ruling of the court and a full English summary of the case and the ruling, click here.

Tracing the Past - Mapping the Lives of the Jews of Europe

"Our goal is for you to be able to walk down any street in Europe and learn the Holocaust history of that specific place."

Tracing the Past is a non-profit organization based in Berlin and launched at the end of October 2014 dedicated to the research and memorialization of the persecuted in Europe 1933-1945. Its first project has been to create a database from the 1939 German Minority Census. As a result, approximately two-thirds of the nearly 170,000 Shoah victims from Germany are now searchable for the first time by residential street address here.

Mapping the Lives is a proposed project dedicated to creating biographies, online maps and smartphone applications pinpointing the residential street addresses of all known victims of the Nazi Regime who were persecuted for reasons of race, religion, political views, resistance, sexual orientation, social orientation, and physical or mental incapacity.

To visit the site, click http://tracingthepast.org/. To listen to Roderick Miller, chairman of Tracing the Past, in a Tedx talk given in Vienna on 1 November 2014, 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