More than 20% of Europe’s art could have been looted by the Nazis during the Holocaust and in countless cases, the looted art was ultimately transferred to museums and private collections. When analyzing these transfers, one may detect the use of multiple jurisdictions, forgeries or other common concealment methods. Given the foregoing, this “Asset Search News Roundup” scrutinizes the transfer of art at the time of the Holocaust-era:
- “Nazi Loot Claim Fails to Hinder Planned Cologne Kandinsky Sale” reports on the auction of Zwei Schwarze Flecken (Two Black Marks), at Kunsthaus Lempertz of Cologne, Germany. Kunthaus Lempertz considers Zwei Schwarze Flecken to have clear title, despite the existence of a Holocaust-era art restitution claim.
- The article “A detective’s work at the MFA“, discusses Oskar Kokoschka’s Two Nudes (Lovers), which Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts says was lawfully transferred during the Holocaust. This article cites Raymond Dowd, Esq., who litigated Bakalar v. Vavra, Index No. 05-CV-3037 (S.D.N.Y.), the first Holocaust-era art case ever to be tried in federal court. Mr. Dowd basically asserts that the museum’s provenance research of Two Nudes lacks transparency and is defective. Mr. Dowd’s blog article about Two Nudes is available here.
- “Mr. Curt Valentin’s Nazi-Looted Art“, comments on the Holocaust-era sale of art to New York’s MoMA. It explained that the Nazis issued a November 14, 1936 letter authorizing art dealer Curt Valentin to transfer art from Germany to America. Valentin sold this art to MoMA, including: Derain’s “Valley of the Lot at Vers“; Kirchner’s “Street Scene“; Klee’s “Around the Fish“; and Matisse’s “Blue Window“. The November 14, 1936 letter and Valentin’s transfer of art during the Holocaust, are too mentioned by the recent ARTnews post, “MoMA’s Problematic Provenances“.
Copyright 2011 Fred L. Abrams