Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg (Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum Foundation, Duisburg)
Research into Nazi-confiscated works of art
in the museum's collection
In 1999 the museum received a restitution request for the painting Buchsbaumgarten (Boxtree Garden) (1909) by Emil Nolde acquired by the museum in 1956. The painting had previously been part of the collection of the Breslau (Wroclaw) collector Dr. Ismar Littmann (1878-1934). In 1934 Littmann committed suicide; his widow then put the collection up for auction through the Berlin dealer Max Perl. Two days before the auction, sixty-four works were confiscated by the Gestapo.
The Nolde was not among the confiscated works and was sold at the Perl Auction of 26/7 February 1935 to the Jewish banker Dr. Heinrich Arnhold. Dr Arnhold's widow, then living in the USA, put it up for auction in Germany in 1956 where it was purchased by the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum. Compensation paid by the German authorities in respect of several confiscated paintings from the Littmann collection in the late 1950s did not include works sold at the auction as a forced sale. On receipt of the restitution claim, the museum appealed to the Oberfinanzdirektion Berlin as an external advisor.
In late 2000 the museum rejected the request for restitution of the Nolde on the grounds that the sale had taken place before the Nuremberg Laws were declared, that the painting had not been sold at a forced sale and that the family was able to dispose of the proceeds of the sale; that the work had been purchased by a Jewish banker who later emigrated to the US taking part of his collection with him, and that it was only resold after 1945.
Research into cultural property missing from the
No information is available
Dr. Christoph Brockhaus, Director
Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum
Düsseldorfer Str. 51
Tel: +49 (0) 203 283 2630 or 3294
Fax: +49 (0) 203 283 3892
Christoph Brockhaus, 'Zum Restitutionsgesuch der Erbengemeinschaft Dr. Ismar Littmann für das Ölbild "Buchsbaumgarten" (1909) von Emil Nolde', in Koordinierungsstelle für Kulturgutverluste (ed.), Beiträge öffentlicher Einrichtungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland zum Umgang mit Kulturgütern aus ehemaligem jüdischen Besitz (Magdeburg: Koordinierungsstelle für Kulturgutverluste, 2001), 78-89. Text in German, summary in English
<http://www.lehmbruckmuseum.de/>, accessed 19 December 2001