Mt. Vernon Register-News

Z_CNHI News Service

November 12, 2013

Hundreds of works in Munich haul may be Nazi plunder

BERLIN — The German government said some 590 artworks discovered in a Munich apartment may have been looted by the Nazis from Jewish collections, and pledged to research and publish their ownership history.

Authorities seized Cornelius Gurlitt's cache of 1,406 artworks, including pieces by Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso, Oskar Kokoschka and Max Liebermann as evidence in an investigation on suspicion of tax evasion and embezzlement in March 2012.

The government said late Monday it would put the artworks it suspects were plundered on the website lostart.de, and began by posting 25, including works by Otto Dix and Eugene Delacroix. The website was inaccessible Tuesday because of heavy traffic, a sign of the interest in Gurlitt's hoard.

"It's great news," Chris Marinello, the director of Art Recovery International, said by telephone from London. "Obviously the pressure had been mounting. This all should have been done at the beginning."

The Nazis seized hundreds of thousands of artworks from Jewish collectors as part of their policy of racial persecution. Gurlitt's father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was appointed to buy and sell art on behalf of Adolf Hitler's regime and his son probably inherited the collection.

The government will set up a task force of at least six provenance researchers led by Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, according to the joint statement from the Culture Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Bavarian government.

Jewish groups and heirs' representatives had demanded a list and voiced outrage when the Augsburg prosecutor said publishing one would be counterproductive. They also expressed frustration that provenance researcher Meike Hoffmann of Berlin's Free University was the only art historian investigating the haul since it was seized 18 months ago.

"The origin of the artworks found in Munich will be clarified with as much haste and transparency as possible," the authorities said.

Among the first artworks posted on lostart.de are a Delacroix drawing, "Moorish Conversation on a Terrace"; an 1840 drawing of musicians by Carl Spitzweg with the previous owner listed as Henri Hinrichsen, a Leipzig music publisher; a Dix portrait of a woman that once belonged to the Littmann family, and a drawing by Otto Griebel previously owned by a Dresden lawyer, Fritz Salo Glaser.

"We have a great deal of understanding for the fact that representatives of Jewish organizations are asking lots of questions," Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, said earlier at a government news conference. "They represent some very elderly people, who experienced, or whose forefathers experienced, terrible injustices."

About 970 works altogether may have been seized by the Nazis, the ministries said. The researchers will also examine the provenance of about 380 artworks possibly seized from German museums as "degenerate art," they said.

Prosecutors projected a handful of the works in Gurlitt's collection onto a screen at a press conference last week. The heirs of David Friedmann, a Jewish businessman who died in 1943, recognized "Riders on the Beach" by Max Liebermann as an artwork they have been seeking for years, and registered their claim with the prosecutor.

The heirs of Paul Rosenberg identified a Matisse painting they say belonged to the family and have requested its return.

"We are ready to talk about restitution," said Marinello, who is representing Rosenberg's heirs. "I am waiting to be invited to a meeting to discuss what to do next."

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 11, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks