The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, July 23, 2014


New Online Resource Debuts for Nazi-Era Looted Art, Estimates Half of Objects Not Yet Returned
In this Feb. 4, 1997 file photo, Dr. Willi Korte, center, and Christoph von Berg, representing the Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar, examine "Portrait of Elizabeth Hervey Holding a Dove," a 1778 painting by Johann Friedrich August Tischbein that was looted from the German museum at the end of World War II, at Sotheby's auction house in New York. Korte has been at the forefront of the worldwide search for art looted by the Nazis, an undertaking that has accelerated over the past two decades, spurring court battles and putting the descendants of Jewish families that were forced to give up their possession against museums and private collectors. AP Photo/Richard Drew.

By: Cristian Salazar, Associated Press Writers
Randy Herscaft, Associated Press Writers

NEW YORK (AP).- The Nazis stripped hundreds of thousands of artworks from Jews during World War II in one of the biggest cultural raids in history, often photographing their spoils and meticulously cataloguing them on typewritten index cards.

Holocaust survivors and their relatives, as well as art collectors and museums, can go online beginning Monday to search a free historical database of more than 20,000 art objects stolen in Germany-occupied France and Belgium from 1940 to 1944, including paintings by Claude Monet and Marc Chagall.

The database is a joint project of the New York-based Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

The database is unusual because it has been built around Nazi-era records that were digitized and rendered searchable, showing what was seized and from whom, along with data on restitution or repatriation and photographs taken of the seized objects, the groups told The Associated Press.

The Claims Conference, which helps Holocaust survivors and their relatives to reclaim property, said it had used the database to estimate that nearly half of the objects may never have been returned to their rightful owners or their descendants or their country of origin.

"Most people think or thought that most of these items were repatriated or restituted," said Wesley A. Fisher, director of research at the Claims Conference. "It isn't true. Over half of them were never repatriated. That in itself is rather interesting historically."

Marc Masurovsky, the project's director at the museum, said the database was designed to evolve as new information is gathered. "I hope that the families do consult it and tell us what is right and what is wrong with it," he added.

The database combines records from the U.S. National Archives in College Park, Md.; the German Bundesarchiv, the federal archive in Koblenz; and repatriation and restitution records held by the French government.

By giving a new view of looted art, the database could raise questions about the possibly tainted history of works of art in some of the world's most important museum collections, experts said.

"I always tell people we have no idea how much is out there because nobody has ever bothered to take a complete inventory," said Willi Korte, one of the most prominent independent provenance researchers of looted Nazi art. "I think all of those that say there's not much left to do certainly should think twice."

Korte has been at the forefront of the worldwide search for art looted by the Nazis, an undertaking that has accelerated over the past two decades, spurring court battles and pitting the descendants of Jewish families who were forced to give up their possession against museums and private collectors.

Among the works listed in the database is a painting by the Danish artist Philips Wouwerman, which had belonged to the Rothschilds family and was discovered in the secret Zurich vault of Reich art dealer Bruno Lohse in 2007.

Korte, who was asked to develop an inventory of the works in the Lohse vault, said the Wouwerman painting "was clearly plundered."

No one knows exactly how many objects the Nazis looted and how many may still be missing.

The Claims Conference says about 650,000 art objects were taken, and thousands of items are still lost.

But the true number may never be known because of lack of documentation, the passage of time and the absence of a central arbitration body.

Some museum organizations have argued in recent years that most looted art has been identified as researchers focus on the provenance of art objects.

The database includes only a slice of the records generated by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, an undertaking of Third Reich ideologue Alfred Rosenberg to seize archives, books, art, Judaica, home furnishings and other objects from Jewish families, bookstores and collections. Records of the looting were disbursed to nearly a dozen countries after the war.

The database is focused on ERR spoils shipped to a prewar museum near the Louvre, where they were often catalogued and sold back to the market, destroyed or integrated into the lavish private collections of top Nazi officials — including the military chief Hermann Goering.

Julius Berman, the chairman of the Claims Conference, said organizing Nazi art-looting records was a key step to righting an injustice.

"It is now the responsibility of museums, art dealers and auction houses to check their holdings against these records to determine whether they might be in possession of art stolen from Holocaust victims," he said.


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.



Today's News

October 18, 2010

Forget the Canvas: That's the Message of David Hockney's New Paris Exhibition

'Who will Dare' to Buy the Rarest Movie Poster in the World? The Bride of Frankenstein Poster for Sale

New Online Resource Debuts for Nazi-Era Looted Art, Estimates Half of Objects Not Yet Returned

Archaeologists in Egypt Uncover Nearly 4,500-Year-Old Tomb of a Pharaonic Priest

Pictures by Grandmother Who Picked Up Paintbrush in Her Sixties Offered at Bonhams

Buckingham Palace Experiences Record Number of Visitors in 2010, Highest in 16 Years

Japanese Dragons with Long Serpentine and Undulating Body Breathe Fire Into Bonhams Sale

Previously Unseen Images by Photographer Nadav Kander on View at Flowers

Major New Exhibition Dedicated to the Master of Surrealism at The Modern Masters Gallery

Archaeological Work in Copalita Indicates that Population might have Reached more than 2,000

Ordinary Madness Mines the Carnegie Museum of Art's Rich Holdings of Contemporary Art

Pinta, Latin American Modern and Contemporary Art Show Announced at Pier # 92

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Presents Retrospective "Urban China: Informal Cities"

21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY Voted #1 Hotel in U.S. Again

Old Photos found in an Old Diary Reveal Tale of Japan and Jews of World War II

Sotheby's Hits Contemporary, Italian Art Targets with Combined Sales of $48.8 Million

Pompeii: Life in a Roman Village 79 CE Reveals Daily Life in a City Steeped in Mystery

Stuart Shave/Modern Art Presents the First Solo Exhibition of Nasreen Mohamedi's Work in London

Mary Kelly: Four Works in Dialogue 1973-2010 at Moderna Museet in Stockholm

Baltimore is the Last Stop on National Tour for Acclaimed Andy Warhol Exhibition

Coveted Collection of American Muscle and Classic Cars Up for Auction in Georgia

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is Showcasing a Selection of Works from the H+F

SLICK: The Fair for Contemporary Art Discoveries Opens Its Fifth Edition this Week in Paris

Ground-Breaking Exhibition that Explores Picasso's Response to Degas

Fans Mourn Closing of Liberace Museum in Las Vegas

Largest Commissioned Sol LeWitt Scribble Drawing is Completed

Moore College of Art & Design Presented 2010 Visionary Woman Awards to Wendy Ewald, Judith Leiber and Ann Temkin

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Archaeologists discover Roman 'free choice' cemetery in the 2,700-year-old ancient port of Rome

2.- Romanians must pay 18 million euros over Kunsthal Museum Rotterdam art heist

3.- Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi defends cute character as cat turns 40 years old

4.- eBay and Sotheby's partner to bring world class art and collectibles to a global community

5.- Exhibition on Screen returns with new series of films bringing great art to big screens across the globe

6.- Marina Abramović reaches half way point of her '512 Hours' performance at the Serpentine Gallery

7.- The Phillips Collection in Washington introduces a uCurate app for curating on-the-go

8.- United States comic icon Archie Andrews dies saving openly gay character

9.- New feathered predatory fossil, unearthed in China, sheds light on dinosaur flight

10.- Exhibition at Thyssen Bornemisza Museum presents an analysis of the concept of the 'unfinished'



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site