Showing posts with label Lucas Cranach the Elder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucas Cranach the Elder. Show all posts

December 26, 2013

"Selling Russia's Treasures" writes about the collecting history of Lucas Cranach the Elder's "Adam and Eve" now at The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCAblog Editor-in-Chief

Santa left a tantalizing art book under my Christmas tree, Selling Russia's Treasures: The Soviet Trade in Nationalized Art 1917-1938 edited by Natalya Semyonova and Nicolas V. Iljine, (MTA Publishing, November 2013), which is of particular interest to me as one of the artworks mentioned is the "Adam" and "Eve" diptych by Lucas Cranach the Elder that resides within a 15-minute walk of my home. This work is the subject of litigation in Marei Von Saher vs. The Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena, which can be heard here from a court hearing in August 2013. These two paintings, purchased by the Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker at an Lepke auction in 1931 and 'purchased' by Herman Göring in 1940 were returned to an heir of the Stroganoff family after World War II and subsequently sold to Norton Simon in 1971. Did Cranach's "Adam" and "Eve" ever belong to the well-documented Stroganov Collection? According to Selling Russia's Treasures:
In addition to paintings from the Stroganov collection, the Lepke auction of May 12-13, 1931, featured two Lucas Cranach paired canvases, Adam and Eve, from the Art Museum of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences in Kiev. 
Cranach paintings often included Adam and Eve, but the existence of the canvases put up for the 1931 auction was unknown well into the late 1920s. The paintings had been found under a staircase in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Kiev in 1927, then moved to the museum of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra (monastery); in 1928, on the initiative of Prof. S. O. Gilyarov, the paintings were given to the Academy museum in Kiev (in 1929 Gilyarov published an article in Ukrainian about the paintings; it included a brief synopsis in French). The newly discovered Adam and Eve were sold in 1931 to Dutch collector Jacques Goudstikker, whose remarkable personal collection numbered more than a thousand old master paintings and about a hundred old master sculptures.
Here are previous ARCA posts about the painting; the Goudstikker collection's 'sale' to the Nazis; the Stroganoff Collection; and the lawsuit.

May 11, 2012

Update: Von Saher vs. Norton Simon Museum and Norton Simon Foundation

Marei von Saher, the daughter-in-law of Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, filed a Notice of Appeal on March 22, 2012 to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit regarding her case against the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena to recover Lucas Cranach's diptych "Adam" and "Eve".  Her opening brief is not due for several months.

Von Saher is represented by Lawrence M. Kaye and Howard N. Spiegler of Herrick, Feinstein of New York and Donald S. Burris and Randol Schoenberg of Burris, Schoenberg & Walden of Los Angeles.  Herrick, Feinstein recovered "Portrait of Wally" and Schoenberg recovered the Adele Bloch-Bauer paintings by Gustav Klimt for families who had lost possession of the works during the Holocaust. 

Mike Boehm for the Los Angeles Times wrote about the case here last week.

March 28, 2012

Courthouse News Service Reports "California Law on Nazi Art Won't Aid Dutch Heir"

Lucas Cranach the Elder's diptych "Adam" and "Eve"
  at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California
March 27 Maria Dinzeo reported for Courthouse News Service that "California Law on Nazi Art Won't Aid Dutch Heir" in the case of the Goudstikker family against the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena for the diptych "Adam" and "Eve" by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

U. S. District Court Judge John F. Walter has written that the heirs are preempted by a foreign affairs doctrine. Judge Walter sits on the U. S. District Court for the Central District of California.

ARCA blog previously covered the background of this case and the paintings in the fall of 2010 here, here and here.

October 22, 2010

The Stroganoff Collection in 1800 by Alexander Stroganoff

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

In 1800, Alexander Stroganoff recorded his thoughts about the 116 paintings he had collected over 40 years in an 80-page book under the title, “Catalogue raisonné des Tableaux qui composent la collection du Comte A. de Stroganoff.” The image on the right is of a painting by Johann Baptist Lampi the Elder, “Portrait of Count Alexander Stroganoff,” now at The Perm Art Gallery in Perm, Russia. The second image (bottom left) is a portrait by Jean-Laurent Mosnier, “Portrait of Count Alexander Stroganoff, the President of the Academy of Arts (1800-1811)”, painted in 1804 and now at The Museum of the Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Getty Research Institute has a copy of Stroganoff’s red leather-bound book from the Duits Collection, part of the 69 boxes of business records kept from 1920 to 1979 for the London branch of an Amsterdam art dealer specializing in Old Master paintings who closed his shop in 1938. The inside of the front cover of the 210-year-old book has a label indicating that it was purchased from a bookstore in Paris’ sixth arrondissement (Librairie F. De Nobele, at 35, Rue Bonaparte). The book is in pristine condition and can only be read in the GRI’s Special Collections reading room.

Alexander Stroganoff, the son of the baron who founded the Stroganoff Picture Gallery, wrote about and described the appreciation he had for the paintings that were in his possession for more than 40 years. Alexander (1733-1811) had lived in Paris, first to study, and then during the 1770s while he attended art auctions and expanded to his father’s art collection.

In the introduction, Stroganoff explained that he wrote for passionate art fans, that had a natural instinct for beauty, a sincere love for the arts, and who strove to acquire the knowledge necessary to appreciate the artworks. Stroganoff divided the paintings amongst the different schools of art, by painter, and by title, adding comments as he wished. No images were included, but he did describe the content of the paintings.

Stroganoff owned paintings from the schools of “Florence”, “Romaine”, “Lombarde”, “Venitienne”, and “Napolitaine et Espagnole”, but the bulk of the collection, 51 paintings, were lumped into what he called “Ecole des Pays-bas” and described as Flemish, Dutch and German artists. The second largest category was for “Ecole Française” (25 paintings).

Artists included André Del Sarto, Guido Reni, Jacques Robusti (Tintoretto), Joseph Ribera, Don Diego Velasquez, Pierre Paul Rubens, Antoine Van-Dyck, Albert Kuyp, Rembrant Van-Ryn, Nicolas Poussin and Fragonard.

Stroganoff’s two paintings by Rembrandt (“Le philosophe en meditation” and “Portrait d’un jeune homme en habit de St. François”) were described as magic and bold. He admired Rubens’s “Portrait de Rubens et de son fils” for it’s action and movement. In describing Don Diego Velasquez’s “Le buste d’un vieillard”, he compared the artist to Caravage: “On trouve dans ses ouvrages l’énergie des Grecs, la correction des Romains, le belle couleur des Vénitiens [The work has the energy of the Greeks, the restraint of the Romans, and the bold colour of the Venetians].” As for Tintoretto’s Portrait of André Doria, the noble Genoan and great seaman, Stroganoff felt that Tintoretto had managed to paint his sitter’s soul.

More than a hundred years after Alexander Stroganoff’s death in 1811, the Stroganoff Collection that remained in Russia, which dated back to the court of Catherine the Great, became property of the state during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Recently, the Stroganoff Collection was in the news as having allegedly once included the “Adam” and “Eve” diptych by Lucas Cranach the Elder that now resides in The Norton Simon Museum. Jacques Goudstikker had purchased the Cranach painting at a sale in Berlin in 1931 that had been marketed under the name of the Stroganoff Collection; however, the sales catalogue said that “Adam” and “Eve” were one of the items in the sale that were not actually from the Stroganoff Collection (ARCA blog, “The Norton Simon Museum’s “Adam” and “Eve”).

In writing about his collection in 1800, Count Alexander Stroganoff does not mention any works that contained any images of Adam and Eve, or any paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, who he would have categorized with the Dutch and Flemish painters since he considered that the German artists worked in the same genre.

Although this book does not answer the question as to how Cranach’s “Adam” and “Eve” diptych reached a church in Kiev in the 1920s, it does document the appreciation and love Alexander Stoganoff had for his vast collection and document the paintings and their titles as known to him.

Further provenance research may provide answers to this mystery.

Olga’s Gallery/The Stroganoffs (also Stroganovs)

October 20, 2010

The Norton Simon Museum’s Adam and Eve Part II

The following is part two of an examination of the Norton Simon Museum's Adam and Eve by Catherine Sezgin. The first installment can be found here.

Goudstikker Collection sold to Nazis in 1940
When war broke out in the Netherlands on May 14, 1940, Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker fled his home and was forced to leave behind his gallery and a trading stock of 1,113 inventoried works of art. During the war, the Nazis occupied the Netherlands for five years and sent more than 100,000 Dutch Jews to concentration camps. Only 5,000 Dutch Jews survived. More than 45,000 Dutch citizens were charged with collaborating with the Nazis. Goudstikker’s art gallery, his artworks, and his real estate were all sold without either his or his family’s permission.

The Goudstikker trio escaped on the SS Bodegraven, a ship traveling to South America, when on May 16th Jacques, seeking some fresh air from the hull, went up to the deck of the ship and died when he fell through an uncovered hatch. He was carrying a black notebook, which his wife Désirée recovered, that detailed and numbered his artworks. The Goudstikker “Blackbook” described works by Rembrandt, Steen, Ruisdael, Van Gogh, and listed Cranach’s Adam and Eve as Numbers 2721 and 2722 with a note that they were purchased at the Lepke Auction House and were from the Church of Holy Trinity in Kiev. 

Not long after Goudstikker’s fatal accident, the person he left in charge of his business also died. Two employees, friendly to the Nazis, assumed control of the business and then sold all of Goudstikker’s assets to a German banker, Alois Miedl, who lived in the Netherlands. Within two weeks, two more purchase agreements were executed – one that gave the gallery and real estate to Miedl and another that gave a majority of the artworks to General Field Marshall Hermann Göring, the second-in-command for the Third Reich. During the war, Göring looted paintings, drawings, antiquities, and sculptures for his private estate. Both Goudstikker’s widow and his mother, the other shareholder, objected to these transactions. In addition to payment of more than 2.5 million Dutch guilders – a gross amount not the net proceeds set aside for the Goudstikker heirs -- the involuntary sale promised personal protection to Goudstikker’s mother who had chose to remain in Amsterdam. The gallery employees who arranged the sale also received proceeds from the illegal transaction for their cooperation.

Göring sent Cranach’s Adam and Eve to Carinhall, his country estate near Berlin, where they remained until the Allied Forces’ invasion of Germany.

Goudstikker’s widow recovers only some assets after World War II
In 1943, the United Nations declared that looted property recovered after the war was to be restored to its nation of origin for return to its original owner. In May 1945, Allied Forces discovered Göring’s collection of artworks, including Cranach’s “Adam” and “Eve”, and sent them to the Munich Central Collecting Point. In 1946, Allied Forces returned the artworks from the Goudstikker Collection to the government of the Netherlands so that they could be restituted to their owners.

In 1946, Jacques Goudstikker’s widow, Désirée, returned to Amsterdam to retrieve her property. For five years she negotiated with the Dutch government and in an agreement in 1952, Goudstikker settled with the Dutch state to “(re-)purchase” more than 300 art objects in exchange for waiving any ownership rights to any other art objects delivered to Miedl during the war. However, the agreement did not address the almost 800 artworks that were delivered to Göring in Germany.

From Scherbatoff to Simon
In 1961, a Russian American Naval Officer, George Stroganoff Scherbatoff, found “Adam” and “Eve” in the national collection in The Netherlands and claimed that his ancestor Stroganoff had owned the painting. In 1966, Scherbatoff made a payment to the Dutch Government and received possession of the diptych. Norton Simon purchased the paintings in 1971 for $800,000 from Scherbatoff through a dealer in New York. Simon displayed the paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1971 and the Princeton University Art Museum in 1972. “Adam” and “Eve” have been on display in Simon’s Pasadena museum since 1979.

Reclaiming the Goudstikker Collection
Through the help of a Dutch journalist who wrote a book about the Goudstikker Collection, Marei von Saher, received new information about her father-in-law’s gallery inventory and made a claim for the paintings in 1998 that the Dutch government declined. That same year, 44 governments participated in the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets to acknowledge that many Nazi looted art objects had not been reunited with their wartime owners and encouraged countries to create databases and processes to return un-restituted art. In 2004, she applied for recovery to the Restitutions Committee to investigate wartime claims, and two years later, the Committee affirmed that the sale of the Goudstikker Gallery had been illegal, regardless of the amount paid, as it occurred under Nazi occupation. However, the Dutch Resolutions Committee wrote that the 1952 agreement that addressed the artworks held by Miedl would remain in force but that it did not preclude the Goudstikker heir from claiming 202 art objects in the Dutch national collection that had been sold and delivered to Göring from the Goudstikker Gallery.

The Resolutions Committee wrote in its recommendation in 2005 that the sale was “involuntary” because Goudstikker’s widow and his mother had refused permission for the transaction and that it had been done by employees sympathetic toward “German buyers.” Since the sale had occurred “immediately after the capitulation of the Netherlands, a situation in which Göring could – and ultimately did – use the influence of his high rank in the Nazi hierarchy,” according to the recommendation.

When Göring transported about 800 paintings from the Goudstikker Collection to Germany, he kept about 300 for his personal collection and sold the others to political cronies or wealthy German industrialists. Many of these works remain lost, according to the Goudstikker Provenance Project that provides the family of Jacques Goudstikker with information to regain possession of their lost artworks. The Project uses many sources to identify the collection. Jacques Goudstikker’s small black leather binder, which he recorded in anticipation of the German invasion, identified his current stock in alphabetical order by artists’ name. In addition, information is also obtained from an inventory register of the stock held in the gallery in May 1940 and the Goudstikker gallery’s photographic archive. A visual record of the collection is also extracted from examining six million photographs of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie. Through this method, the Goudstikker Collection has reclaimed more than 30 additional paintings from private collections and museums.

Cranach’s “Adam” and “Eve” at the Norton Simon Museum have traveled from the Ukraine to California and survived both the Soviet Union and the Third Reich in the 20th century and they will survive the current controversy.

Sutton, Peter C. Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2008.

Primary sources:
Schmidt, James. “The Stroganoff Collection in Leningrad [now St. Petersburg].” Translated by Hess Translations, Inc. from German into English, August 11, 2007. Schmidt’s article accompanied the catalogue for the 1931 “Stroganoff” auction in May 1931 in Berlin.

Complaint filed May 1, 2007 in the US District Court for the Central District of California, Plaintiff Marei Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, Norton Simon Art Foundation, and the Norton Simon Foundation, defendants.
Case No. DV 07-02866

Getty Provenance Research Database. Record 27653 “Adam” and Record 27343 “Eve”.


October 18, 2010

Lucas Cranach the Elder's "Adam" and "Eve" diptych subject of Marei Von Saher vs. The Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena (Part I)

Cranach's "Adam",
Norton Simon Museum
By Catherine Schofield Sezgin

First of a two part series

While his close friend Martin Luther “often preached about the fall of man and its consequences” (Norton Simon Museum audio tour), the German painter Lucas Cranach the Elder painted more than 30 works of the naked Adam and Eve contemplating a bite of the forbidden apple and expulsion from Paradise. The "Adam" and "Eve" diptych residing at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, is the subject of controversy 500 years later in a Holocaust art-restitution case (Marei Von Saher vs. The Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena). The heir of a Jewish art dealer, Jacques Goudstikker, has claimed that Hitler’s second-in-command, Herman Göring, stole “Adam” and “Eve” in 1940 and that the Dutch government wrongly transferred the paintings to the heir of a Russian aristocratic family in a purported sale, who then sold the works to wealthy industrialist Norton Simon in 1971.

Cranach's "Eve",
Norton Simon
The Norton Simon Museum’s “Adam” and “Eve”, painted on two large wood panels measuring 75 x 27 ½ inches, likely started out as decorating the home of a wealthy member of the royal court in the 16th century although it would end up in a Church in Kiev by the 20th century. The scope of this article does not track down all of the 30 versions “Adam and Eve” neither does it explain how the Norton Simon Museum’s painting came to travel to the Ukraine in the 1920s. However, a quick review of public institutions through the Getty Provenance Index Databases shows that smaller, paintings of the first couple have been in the collections of the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and at the Art Institute of Chicago. The diptych on display in Chicago has resided there since 1935 after Charles H. Worcester purchased it on September 10, 1935 from Jacques Goudstikker of Amsterdam before donating it to the museum in the same year. It is believed that Goudstikker purchased Chicago’s “Adam” and “Eve” from a private collection in Stockholm.1

Jacques Goudstikker, a third-generation art dealer in Amsterdam, owned more than one of the thirty paintings by Cranach of “Adam” and “Eve”. He was a specialist in Old Master paintings and had produced shows that featured works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Goya, Rubens, and Hieronymus Bosch. He purchased a larger diptych of “Adam” and “Eve” by Cranach the Elder for $11,186 at an auction in Berlin in 1931. The auction featured works previously owned by the Stroganoff family in St. Petersburg. However, in 1917, the Bolshevik government had nationalized all art held in private collections and to raise money in 1931, the Russian government put the artworks up for sale.

The Stroganov Collection

Count Aleksandr Sergeevich Stroganov (1733-1811), an art patron and a member of the court of Catherine the Great, acquired most of his art at Paris auctions from 1769 to 1779. He catalogued them in published editions in 1793 and 1800. In the mid-19th century, Count Sergei Grigoryevitch added to the Stroganoff Collection by acquiring many 15th century Italian paintings. In 1864, German art historian Gustav Friedrich Waagen described the Stroganov Collection when he assisted the Hermitage in sorting their collection. In 1901, Alexander Benois described the Stroganoff palace and gallery in Les Trésors d’Art en Russie.2 The Stroganoff Collection was displayed in the gallery of the family palace in St. Petersburg until it was moved to safety in Moscow during the Revolution. Eventually, it was returned to Leningrad.

Soviet artworks were not all from the Stroganoff Collection

The catalogue of the auction of the Stroganoff Collection at Rudolph Lepke’s Kunst-Auctions-Haus in Berlin, included an essay by James Schmidt who wrote that pictures from sources other than the Stroganoff Collection were included in the sale. Schmidt provided “a summary overview” of paintings offered for sale at the auction that were not from the Stroganoff Collection. He listed Rembrandt’s “Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well” from the Hermitage; Claude Lorrain’s “Morning” and “Ulysses at Lycomedes’ Court”; Van Dyck’s “Bishop Malderus”; Nicholaus Neufchatel’s “Patrician Woman from Nuremberg”; and Artus van der Neers’ “Moonlight Landscape”. Schmidt also cited Goyens’ “View of Arnheim Across the Rhine” from the Semenov-Tianshansky collection acquired by the Hermitage in 1912. Then, in the next paragraph, Schmidt wrote: “The remaining paintings from other sources include primarily “Adam and Eve” by Cranach, which were discovered in a Kiev church and can be dated to between 1525 and 1530.”

“Adam” and “Eve” are believed to have been at the Church of Holy Trinity in Kiev, Ukraine until the early 1920s when they were sent to a state-owned Kiev museum at Kievo Pecherskaia Lawra Monastery. Then in 1927, they were transferred to the Museum of the Ukrainian Academy of Science in Kiev before they were included in the Berlin sale in 1931.

Provenance Research

The Getty Provenance Research Database notes in its records on the “Adam” and “Eve” diptych at the Norton Simon Museum: “There is reason to doubt, however, that the Cranach paintings had actually belonged to the Stroganoff family and been confiscated during the Russian Revolution, as previously believed. First, other collections were included in the 1931 Lepke sale. According to an annotation by Ellis Waterhouse in a copy of the catalogue of the sale now in the GRI [Getty Research Institute], “Not a very large proportion of the pictures really came from the Stroganoff coll(ection). The rest are drawn from other sequestrated private collections & from the Hermitage depot.” The Getty also notes that Cranach’s Adam and Eve do not appear in earlier references to the Stroganoff collection.

This blogger has sent a request to the Norton Simon Museum for more information about the provenance of their paintings and looks forward reporting their reply.

2. Waagen published a book on the Hermitage collection (Munich, 1864). Waagen traveled to St. Petersburg in 1861. Schmidt’s essay, May 1931.