Professor Curt Glase was both a physician and prominent art historian, an art critic, author of important art historical works and a well-known art collector. Since 1909 he worked in museums in Berlin, before, in 1927, becoming the Director of the National Art Library in Berlin. Previously, he had rendered great service to the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett. As a friend and supporter of the well-known Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, he laid the foundation for one of today's largest and most important collections of Munch graphic works in the Kupferstichkabinett.
With the accession to power of the Nazis, he was subject to persecution as a Jew and was forced out of his post. In June 1933, with no personal or professional future in Germany, he went into exile with his second wife, who was also Jewish. Their journey into exile took them through France, Cuba, Switzerland, Italy and ultimately the USA, where Professor Glaser died in 1943 in Lake Placid, New York.
Prior to leaving Germany, Curt Glaser held two auctions of his extensive art and graphic collection, his home furnishings and his art library. Some works of art he was able to take abroad. The Kupferstichkabinett acquired six graphics by Edvard Munch at one of the auctions and another five graphic works by Ludwig Kirchner, of which three remain there today.
In recognition of Professor Glaser's persecution by the Nazi regime and in recognition of his great services to the Berlin Museums, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the heirs of Professor Glaser agreed a "fair and just solution" in line with the Washington Principles. Thereafter, the works of Edvard Munch 'Girls on the beach' (mezzotint), 'Prayer of an old man' (woodcut) and 'Death and the Woman' (etching) and a woodcut by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 'Bauer entertainment' are being returned to the heirs. The remaining works will remain in the Museum by consent of the heirs - not least to commemorate the contribution and life of Professor Glaser in Berlin.
To read the SPK's Press Release, click here.