November 8, 2013

Friday, November 08, 2013 - No comments

Gurlitt Art Collection: NPR: "US Documents Raise Questions on Munich Art Hoard (Hildebrand-Cornelius Gurlitt Art Collection)

Here on Nov. 7, National Public Radio (NPR) published online an article by the Associated Press on the subject of the relationship with Hildebrand Gurlitt and the Allied interrogators after the war ended.
In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, the American military seized 20 boxes of art from German dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt in Aschbach in December 1945, according to documents located by The Associated Press in the U.S. National Archives in Washington.
Noted excerpts:
American investigators at the time expressed doubts about Gurlitt's claims to the works, but they eventually decided that in most cases he was the rightful owner. So on Dec. 15, 1950, the U.S. returned 206 items to him: 115 paintings, 19 drawings and 72 "various other objects."
The three paintings that the Americans returned to Cornelius' father in 1950 and which have showed up in the Munich trove are Max Liebermann's "Two Riders on the Beach;" Otto Dix's self-portrait and an allegorical painting by Marc Chagall.
Christoph Zuschlag, an art historian at the University of Koblenz, said the American documents indicated U.S. investigators suspected right after the war that Gurlitt may have been in possession of looted art.
He said if German authorities published a full list of the find at the apartment, then experts could determine more quickly whether Gurlitt was the rightful owner.
"As a historian, I have to say pictures and information about all the art has to be published online immediately," he said. "A whole team of experts should work on this discovery and try to answer all the remaining open questions."
Spokeswoman Hillary Kessler-Godin said the Claims Conference already has an online database of 20,000 looted objects based on the Nazis' own records that is searchable by owner, artist and other keywords. She said that could be easily used to determine if there are any claims on the Gurlitt collection.
"Our experts believe that a number of the works found in Munich could be in this database," Kessler-Godin said in an email. "Keeping the list a secret hinders the process of expeditious restitution."