Showing posts with label LACMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LACMA. Show all posts

November 28, 2013

LA Times: "Recovered Nazi-looted artwork to be donated to LACMA"

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will receive a gift of a Baroque-era masterpiece by Bernardo Strozzi from Phillipa Calnan, a former public affairs director for LACMA and the J. Paul Getty Trust, writes Christopher Knight in "Recovered Nazi-looted artwork to be donated to LACMA" for the Los Angeles Times.
The life-size figure of St. Catherine of Alexandria, painted in Genoa around 1615 by Bernardo Strozzi, was installed Monday in the third floor galleries for European art. The painting, valued at between $2.5 million and $3 million, is a promised gift to the museum, where it vaults to the top tier of paintings in LACMA's collection.
An Italian court ordered the painting's return to Calnan.
It disappeared after the 1943 Nazi occupation of Florence, one of nearly a dozen works stolen from the collection assembled by Charles A. Loeser, an American expatriate and heir to a Brooklyn department store fortune. Loeser moved to Italy in 1890 and died in 1928. Ten years after Loeser's death, prior to the outbreak of World War II, Mussolini's fascist government passed a series of anti-Jewish "racial laws." Loeser's widow, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter left Florence before the German occupation, leaving behind valuable works of art restricted from leaving Italy. The painting vanished in April 1944, after the Nazi prefect set up headquarters in the family's Villa Torri di Gattaia, located on the city's highest hill.
The Strozzi was one of several Loeser collection works on the authoritative list of Nazi-plundered art compiled after the war by Rodolfo Siviero, an Italian art historian called "the 007 of art" for his work as an Allied secret agent. It is also recorded in Germany's Lost Art Internet Database, established to track Nazi loot. The painting first surfaced around 2008 in Vienna, where it was sold by an unidentified Austrian collector.

Sotheby's was approached about accepting the painting for auction, but research into its provenance, or history of ownership, identified its status as Nazi plunder. The auction house notified Italian police and contacted Calnan, Loeser's granddaughter.

June 28, 2011

The Boston Globe Reports "MFA makes amends in probable plundering: Artwork believed stolen by Nazis"

Eglon van der Neer, "Portrait of a Man and Woman"
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

One of our readers directed the ARCA blog to a headline June 27th in the online Boston Globe edition: "MFA makes amends in probable plundering, Artwork believed stolen by the Nazis."

Geoff Edgers for The Boston Globe reports that Boston's Museum of Fine Arts will pay an "undisclosed sum" to the heir of Walter Westfeld, a Jewish art dealer, to keep the 17th century painting, "Portrait of a Man and Woman" (1665-1667) by Eglon van der Neer (1634-1703).

Edgers writes:
The 29-by-27-inch work, which depicts a wealthy couple sitting in their living room, was purchased from a New York dealer in 1941 for $7,500. In recent years, similar van der Neers have sold at auction for as much $550,000.
The MFA's curator for provenance, Victoria S. Reed, researched the painting's history.  Again, Edgers from The Boston Globe:

There was no way to track the direct path of the painting from Germany in the 1930s to New York. But it was very unlikely that Westfeld had sold his painting voluntarily.
Reed learned that Westfeld had run a gallery in Elberfeld (now Wuppertal), Germany, until the Nazis shut it down in 1936. He continued to operate secretly as a dealer, but in 1938 he was arrested, and he was sent to Auschwitz in 1943.
You may find more information about the provenance of this painting and others on the MFA's website here.

You may also find interesting article by Kate Deimling in ARTINFO.com, "Suspecting It Harbors a Nazi-Looted Painting, MFA Boston Preemptively Pays Settlement", which points out that Victoria S. Reed is the first full-time "curator for provenance" although credit should be given to the Los Angeles County Museum who in 2000 hired a full-time provenance researcher, Dr. Amy Walsh (Dr. Walsh is now Curator of European paintings at LACMA).