Tip off DOES NOT lead art detectives to priceless looted art hanging on wall of prestigious Berlin museum

Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz 16 May 2019

The Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) in Berlin has issued a statement correcting the article published on 24 April by First News which asserted that a painting in Berlin's Gemaeldegalerie was the rightful property of Poland:

'The article on the Webpage which was published on 11 April concerning the painting “Still life with musical instruments” by Pieter de Ring claims that this painting is the property of the former Schlesisches Museum der Bildenden Künste Breslau and therefore the rightful property of the Polish state. This is incorrect and we have now requested Art Sherlock to either correct the article or remove it from their website.

Ever since the painting was purchased by the Gemäldegalerie in 1829 it has been the property of the Gemäldegalerie. It was on loan to the Schlesisches Museum der bildenden Künste since 1884. It remained on loan until it was transferred to what was then Heinrichsau and later to Kamenz/Silesia for safekeeping toward the end of World War II and subsequently looted by the Soviet Army. At no point in its history did the painting become the property of the Schlesisches Museum der Bildenden Künste. Today it is rightfully in the collection that has owned it since 1829, the Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, which now is part of Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

It is true that the painting was given an inventory number by the Schlesisches Museum der Bildenden Künste, Number 124. In those days however, it was customary to give long term loans an inventory number. However it was also contained in the printed catalogue of the collection of the Gemäldegalerie under “Ausgeliehene Werke” or “Leihweise abgegebene Werke” ("Loaned works" or "Works given away as loans"). This catalogue was periodically updated. The files documenting the loan in 1884 as well as the 1931 version of the catalogue of "Ausgeliehene Werke" both state unequivocally that the painting was a loan and not the property of the museum in Breslau, while the catalogue simultaneously quotes the Breslau inventory number (Number 124) AND the Berlin inventory number (No 918).”'

Statement of the SPK 16 May 2019

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