The ERR inventory list tells us that the late Max Heilbronn had an apartment at 1, Place de l'Alma and a safe deposit box at the Crédit commercial de France in Mont-de-Marsan, in southwestern France. The Devisenschutzkommando (DSK) sent agents down to the CCF to remove the Heilbronn collection from its safe and transferred it to the ERR in Paris. The removal took place before February 13, 1941. The ERR assigned to the painting the title of "Ansicht auf Paris, 1902" under the moniker of "Heilbronn 7."
A card was then created for this painting confirming that it had been officially processed and indexed at the Jeu de Paume, in Paris, a central sorting, cataloguing, displaying, and shipping point for cultural and artistic objects plundered in Paris, the neighboring regions and selected parts of France (Bordeaux region in particular and Nice). You can find more details on the ERR database.
The painting was placed on an easel and photographed. The use of the easel is most closely identified with the Louvre annex where most objects were stored and which served as a glorified warehouse for the ERR art historians from which they would retrieve objects, bring them to the Jeu de Paume for processing and then return them to the Louvre where they awaited their fate.
Mrs Tomforde completed the Heilbronn inventory in July 1942. On October 31, 1942, the Pissaro view of Paris from the Pont-Neuf was subject to the 23rd exchange (Tausch) engineered by Bruno Lohse, deputy commander of the ERR plundering unit in Paris and Gustav Rochlitz, a German dealer based in the rue de Rivoli in Paris who came up with the concept of the exchanges and proposed them to Lohse as an efficient way of unloading "modernist" works in exchange for Old Masters more coveted by the Nazi hierarchy in Berlin.
At this point, the painting vanishes. Since we know that Hildebrand Gurlitt, father of Cornelius Gurlitt, obtained the painting and that he traveled frequently to Paris, one should presume that Gurlitt acquired the Pissarro work in Paris either directly from Rochlitz or through a mutual acquaintance.
After the war ended, the Heilbronn heirs filed a claim with the French government and reported their cultural losses to the Commission de recuperation artistique (CRA) set up to investigate cultural losses and facilitate restitutions to rightful owners.
The painting only resurfaced in the spring of 2014 upon the discovery of the Salzburg Depot. To view the work go to the website of the Kunstmuseum Bern and download the list for Salzburg.
Sources: Bundesarchiv Koblenz, B323; Ministere des affaires étrangères, La Courneuve, France, Fonds RA
Posted by the Holocaust Art Restitution Project at 11:08 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Keywords: Bruno Lohse, Camille Pissarro, Commission de récupération artistique, Cornelius Gurlitt, CRA, Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, ERR, Gustav Rochlitz, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Max Heilbronn Older Post Home