The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Saturday, July 12, 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.

World War II | The Claims Conference | Wesley A. Fisher | The Nazis |


Today's News

October 19, 2010

More than a Century After He Visited Madrid's Prado Museum, Pierre-Auguste Renoir Returns

Google Partners with Israel Antiquities Authority to Bring Dead Sea Scrolls Online

Five New Paintings by Cy Twombly to Inaugurate Gagosian's New Paris Gallery

Egypt's Top Archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, Shows Off New Tomb that Belonged to Rudj-ka

Photographers and Researchers will Examine Images of the Mexican Revolution

Chairs from Taunton Castle, Somerset, Used During the Bloody Assizes to Sell at Bonhams

Preview Berlin, The Emerging Art Fair, Breaks Visitor Records in Its 6th Edition

Fifty Auctions Later, Los Angeles Modern Auctions is Still Going Strong, Sale Totals $1.55 Million

Sotheby's New York to Offer Property from the Collection of the Late Clarence Day

Contemporary Chinese Paintings from the Allen Memorial Art Museum on View at the Akron Art Museum

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

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

Bellevue Arts Museum Appoints Marsha Wolf Director of Development

A Fixture of South Florida's Contemporary Art Scene, Art Palm Beach Returns in January

American & European Furniture & Decorative Arts at Bonhams & Butterfields on November 1st

National Gallery Acquires Nine Exceptionally Rare Prints by Rembrandt, Durer and Whistler

Never-Before-Seen Works at the Art Gallery of Ontario Reveal a Darker Side to Henry Moore

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

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

Kimbell Art Museum Commences Construction on Piano-Designed Building

Innovative Furniture by American Designer Charles Rohlfs Displayed at Metropolitan Museum

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

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

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

New Evidence Found for Flour in Stone-Age Diet

Over 200 Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk: Study

Georgia Museum of Art at UGA Wins SEMC Exhibition Award of Excellence and Eight Publication Awards

Aperture Appoints Chris Boot as New Executive Director

Fans Mourn Closing of Liberace Museum in Las Vegas

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Conservation treatment, research and touristic-education program surrounding the Ghent Altarpiece

2.- Exhibition offers an opportunity to discover the wide-ranging materials used to create colour in paintings

3.- Amsterdam revolts against United States architect Daniel Libeskind Holocaust memorial

4.- Claude Monet 'Water Lilies' painting sells for $54 million at Sotheby's in London

5.- Spain's Queen Letizia opens "El Greco and modern painting" exhibition at The Prado

6.- Hopper's Nighthawks tops the list for Art Everywhere US: Largest outdoor art show ever

7.- Rijksmuseum opens exhibition of fourteen monumental sculptures by Alexander Calder

8.- Association of Art Museum Directors sanctions Delaware Art Museum for sale of work of art

9.- Whitney concludes Uptown exhibition programming with Jeff Koons: A Retrospective

10.- Live art by top international artists steals the show at 45th edition of Art Basel fair

Related Stories



Vet Reaches 10,000 Volunteer Hours at WWII Museum

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

70 Years on, Britain Remembers 'The Few'

World War II Warplane Raised from California Reservoir

New Orleans' Exhibit Offers Sights, Sounds of WWII

World War II Museum Adds Theater, Restaurant and "Canteen"



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