Marc Balcells reviews Lost Lives, Lost Art (Vendome 2010) by Melissa Müller and Monika Tatzkow in the Spring 2014 issue of The Journal of Art Crime:
The phenomenon “Monuments Men” has passed, at least cinematographically: it looks like the dust raised by the ‘in favor’ and ‘against’ factions has settled. Yet the topic of WWII restitutions is far from being settled: the Gurlitt trove and the multiple apartments holding a cache of looted art, which unfolded at the same time as the “Monuments Men” momentum, really showed how open and unsolved this issue is. All these cases made me revisit some of the books that I own on the topic, and my attention wandered to Lost Lives, Lost Art by Melissa Müller and Monika Tatzkow.
This non-fiction book follows a coffee table format: bigger than a regular book, hardcover, glossy pages and profusely illustrated. The book’s main theme is to chronicle the lives of fifteen prominent Jewish art collectors and how their collections got dispersed during the ascent to power of the Nazi party, and during the war. However, the book does not stop here and depicts the fate of the works of art and the current owners of the pieces: as the reader can imagine, in most of the cases, the art never went back to their owners, and it the object of many legal cases. In that sense, the book has a similar vibe to Hector Feliciano’s The Lost Museum (1995), which one of its parts revolves around five particular cases (the Rothschild collection, the gallery of Paul Rosenberg, the Bernheim-Jeune collection, the David David-Weill collection and the Schloss collection).