Role of Task Force and Prosecutor and the Response to Claimants for Gurlitt Works
On lostart.de, potential claimants or enquirers about works of art in the Gurlitt collection are asked to write to the Augsburg Prosecutor whose contact details are provided.
They receive a response, not from the Prosecutor, but from Uwe Hartmann, 'Scientific Head of the Task Force'. The role of the Task Force had been stated to be that of establishing the provenance of the works of art - that is, the history of ownership. However, Dr Hartmann's email states that the Task Force's role is to go beyond that and establish the factual basis for legal decisions and that their findings will be provided to the Prosecutor and any court. This could materially affect the position of claimants The email reads: ‘The Task Force consists of several qualified experts for provenance research and legally acts on the basis of “administrative assistance” for the Public Attorney’s Office of Augsburg. Within this scope, the experts of this Task Force are currently researching the provenance of those artworks seized in Mr Gurlitt’s apartment which are required to be examined for the purpose of the Public Attorney’s investigations. All these artworks are successively shown at www.lostart.de on behalf of the Public Attorney’s Office of Augsburg. The Task Force is supposed to be contacted instead of the Public Attorney’s Office for all questions, especially by possible claimants, with regard to these artworks.
Any evidence relevant to the provenance of these artworks may be sent directly to the central email address firstname.lastname@example.org The more detailed and substantive any shared information is, the more helpful it can be for the work of our experts.
Please apologize that answering your request individually will take considerable time due to the high number of requests and the complex and extensive research which is required in respect of all artworks. Please be assured that the Task Force handles your request as speedily as possible.
In order to avoid misunderstandings we would like to clarify that the Task Force cannot decide legal claims, but conducts a fact-finding mission in order to provide the factual basis for such decisions. Court procedures, where necessary, cannot be replaced by lodging claims towards the Task Force.
Thank you very much for your understanding!
Dr. Uwe Hartmann
Taskforce "Schwabinger Kunstfund"
Tel.: 030-266 426930
Fax: 030-266 426932
Minister Neumann issues Press Statement on Germany's Provenance Research and Restitution Record
13 December 2013: Culture Minister Neumann stated that Germany will expand and develop provenance research over the next two years and that 15 further projects have been funded. He stated that lostart.de lists 25,273 work of art; that 12,200 Nazi confiscated items have been restituted since 1998, including over 7,000 books and 87 archival fonds (ie some 5,000 works of art have been restituted over 15 years); and there are 60 full time provenance researchers in German public collections in total.
To read, the release, click here
Table of Gurlitt Works of Art Posted on www.lootedart.com
13 December 2013: 354 works of art have been posted on lostart.de to date. They are mainly works on paper from artists including Cézanne, Corot, Daumier, Delacroix, Guardi,Ingres, Liebermann, Michel, Millet, Munch and Toulouse-Lautrec. Among the latest additions are paintings by Corot, Courbet, Renoir, Rousseau and Vernet. The listings are not clearly ordered or easily searchable, and the information in English is only an abbreviated version of that provided in German.
In order to assist families searching for their lost works of art, we have created a table of all the works posted in alphabetical order by artist, with all provenance information available, and a link to the image. The table is entirely searchable - see sample below.
Please click here
to see the entire list of works published to date. The table is updated with each new posting on lostart.Sample of Table:
Title and medium
Entry on Lostart.de click here
|Gesellschaft am Strand
(Company on the beach)
|Reverse: Exhibited in Werke der frz. Malerei u. Grafik des 19. Jh. catalogue nr. 4, as ‘Gesellschaft am Strand’, at Villa Hügel, Essen 1954 (Museum Folkwang Essen)
Entry on Lostart.de click here
|Reverse: Exhibited in Werke frz. Malerei und Grafik des 19. Jh. catalogue nr. 40, as 'Löwin', at Villa Hügel, Essen 1954 (Museum Folkwang, Essen)
Hildebrand Gurlitt and the Art Trade during the Nazi Period
Dr Katja Terlau published this important essay on Hildebrand Gurlitt in 2005 in the AAM publication 'Vitalizing Memory'. It arose from a research project she conducted at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum Cologne into acquisitions made between 1933-1945. 32 major works of art were acquired by the museum through Gurlitt between 1941 and 1945, all from France and almost all from private collections in Paris. Her essay covers his activities in France, his sources of acquisition, his business documents for 1943-4, his purchases for German museums and collectors and his role in the post-war years.
She characterises him as "one of the most important and active art dealers during the Nazi era" and notes that his activities in France at the beginning of the 1940s have yet to be closely examined "perhaps because the magnitude of his dealings for museums and private customers has long been underestimated". She advised that "all works that were procured by him should be treated with the utmost attention, particularly with regard to the conditions of their procurement, and should be researched for evidence of forced sales".
To read the essay, click here
Post-War Exhibitions of Hildebrand Gurlitt's Art Collection
Hildebrand Gurlitt exhibited works of art from his collection in numerous exhibitions after the war. Among the exhibitions were the following:
Deutsche Kunst – Meisterwerke des 20. Jahrhunderts (German Art - Masterworks of the 20th century), Kunstmuseum Luzern, 4 July - 2 October 1953
: Landesgalerie Hannover, Kunstverein Dusseldorf, Kunstverein Hannover, Kunsthalle Bremen, 1954
Werke der frz. Malerei u. Grafik des 19. Jh., (Works of French Masters and Graphic works of the 19th century),
Villa Hügel, Museum Folkwang, Essen, 1954
German Watercolors, Drawings and Prints 1905-1955, USA Tour, January - December 1955 - Catalogue hereDeutsche Malerei seit Caspar David Friedrich, Ausgewählte Werke
. (German painting from Caspar David Friedrich, Selected Works
) Stadthalle Wolfsburg, 15 April - 17 May 1956 - Catalogue here
Please email email@example.com
if you know of other exhibitions.
Hungary Passes Law Enabling Recovery of Looted Works of Art in Its Public Collections
On 11 November 2013 the Hungarian Parliament passed legislative amendments proposed by the Minister of Human Resources, Zoltán Balog. In the future, the burden of proof will be on the state to prove the legality of its ownership of works of art in its public collections. Under the amendments, if the state cannot meet its burden of proof, then it will be obligated to return the works of art in question to whomever can make a “prima facie case” of his/her ownership.The amendments were followed by an Executive Decree enacting the legislation. No list of potentially restitutable works will be published. To read the law in Hungarian, click here
. To read in an English translation, click here
. To read the government press release in English, click her
Koenigs collection claim rejected by Dutch Restitutions Committee
10 December 2013: The Restitutions Committee has advised Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker to let an earlier decision to reject the Koenigs claim stand. This advice has been accepted.
The advice issued on 12 November 2013 concerns 34 paintings and 37 drawings from the pre-war art collection of the banker Franz Wilhelm Koenigs. In the case of a few paintings it was not possible to ascertain with certainty they were in the collection, but it has been established for the majority of the artworks.
In this advice the Committee expresses the opinion that the new information, in conjunction with what was already known, gives no reason to revise the advice given earlier. According to the Committee it has not been made sufficiently plausible that Franz Koenigs's loss of possession is directly related to the Nazi regime. In this regard it has judged that the transfer of ownership on 2 April 1940, at a time before the German invasion of the Netherlands and in a situation where the Nazi’s were not in power, by Franz Koenigs (who was not Jewish) of his collection to the bank cannot be seen as involuntary as a result of circumstances directly related to the Naziregime. Of prime importance here is that Koenigs owed a debt to the bank that had become payable. Only after this transfer, and after a subsequent sale to Dutch buyers, artworks got into the hands of the Nazis.
For further details, click here
The Koenigs claimants have issued their own press release in response to the decision, in which they state they will be pursuing their claim through the civil courts. See release here
Hildebrand Gurlitt: Allied Interrogation June 1945; List of Artworks in his Collection returned to him by the Allies in 1950 and the Related Documentation
To read these documents, including Gurlitt's sworn statement of 8-10 June 1945, witness statements submitted in 1950 in support of his application to have his art collection returned, and his annotated list of the works of art in his collection, click here
German Press Releases on the Gurlitt Hoard
The German authorities have issued a number of press releases since the Gurlitt story broke. They are listed below and can be read by clicking on the date of each.25 November 2013
, Berlin, Pressemitteilung der Taskforce „Schwabinger Kunstfund“ 21 November 2013
, Berlin, Pressemitteilung der Taskforce „Schwabinger Kunstfund“ Dr. Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel 19 November 2013
, Augsburg, Presseerklärung zum Umgang mit dem sog. "Schwabinger Kunstfund“ Der Leitende Oberstaatsanwalt in Augsburg 14 November 2013
, Berlin, Pressemitteilung der Taskforce „Schwabinger Kunstfund“, Dr. Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel 11 November 2013
, Berlin, Gemeinsame Pressemitteilung des Bayerischen Staatsministeriums der Justiz, des Bayerischen Staatsministeriums für Bildung und Kultus, Wissenschaft und Kunst, des Bundesministeriums für Finanzen und des Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Analysis of the 139 'problematic' items discovered by the Dutch Museums
As was announced on 29 November 2013, 41 Dutch museums are in possession of at least 139 items with 'problematic' origins. Of these, the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum have 9 and 11 problematic items respectively, and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague 19. 61 items were flagged because 'of the name of the owners, and most of these 61 items belonged to Jews'.
Analysis shows the following:
6 paintings and 12 drawings come from the Goudstikker Collectio
n. Of the twelve drawings, a series by Jan Toorop, six are in the Gemeentemuseum and six in the Stedelijk. All were bought at Muller Amsterdam in 1940 at the sale of seized Goudstikker works;
7 majolica items come from the Pringsheim Collectio
n, all acquired from a Dutch collector in 1948 who had acquired them at the London sale of the seized collection in 1939;
2 paintings and 4 decorative objects come from the Larsen Collection
and all are in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum. The four decorative objects were on loan from the family and taken by the museum in 1942 when the collection was declared 'enemy property' . The two paintings have also been in the museum since 1942 'by unknown means';
4 decorative items come from the Emma Budge Collection
. Two are at the Gemeentemuseum which acquired them at the forced sale of the collection in Berlin in 1937.
That is, 25% of the items 'discovered' came from collections well known to have been looted, some of which were already identified by the Dutch museums in 1999 but not returned.
The provenances of the 139 items reveal that Dutch museums were acquiring works known to have been confiscated both throughout the war and thereafter even when the provenance of the items was obviously problematic. As late as 2002 the Dordrecht Museum bought a work of art which came from the confiscated Hedeman Collection
with a label on the back showing it to have been seized in Holland.
The site publishes the objects only in Dutch at http://www.musealeverwervingen.nl/46/objecten/
. There will not be an English translation until 2014.
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.
: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org