ANN: New book on the Gurlitt Art Trove

Deutsches Zentrum - TIAMSA The International Art Market Studies Association

The German Lost Art Foundation releases the second volume of its publication series “Provenire” 

The case changed the art world: When the discovery of roughly 1,500 works of art owned by the son of art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt was reported in November 2013, the alleged “Nazi trove” made international headlines. 

After completion of the systematic study, the German Lost Art Foundation has now released a scientific publication on the “Gurlitt Art Trove” as part of its “Provenire” series. The anthology, to appear on 5 May, reflects the latest research. It also illuminates previously lesser-known aspects of the spectacular case, which has significantly heightened public awareness of the dimensions of Nazi art theft and was a vital stimulus for the expansion of provenance research in Germany. 

The Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Monika Grütters, supported the release of the publication with funds from the federal cultural budget. Ms Grütters stated: “With every artwork we identify as having been misappropriated due to Nazi persecution and for which we find a just and fair solution with the original owners or their descendants, we can make a small contribution to historic justice. We owe it to those people who were robbed of their property and their rights by the Nazi regime. From the beginning, the federal government thus recognized and supported the systematic study of the Gurlitt Art Trove as part of Germany’s historic responsibility in dealing with the legacy of Nazi art theft. The volume published by the German Lost Art Foundation contains a remarkable wealth of insights into the Gurlitt Art Trove gained through the federally funded research of the Task Force and corresponding follow-on projects. These insights are invaluable even beyond the ‘Gurlitt case’, as they help clarify provenances and strengthen the overall knowledge base of provenance research on Nazi art theft. This publication by no means marks the end of our efforts to deal with the legacy of Nazi art theft. Quite the opposite: it is a starting point from which to pursue the truth with even more researchers who are equipped with even better scientific tools than before.” 

Hildebrand Gurlitt played an important role as buyer for Hitler’s planned “Führermuseum” (Führer’s museum) in Linz, as a dealer for museums and not least in the disposal of what is known as “degenerate art”. Contributions in the volume address, among other topics, Gurlitt’s comprehensive activity in the French and Dutch art markets and his network during the post-war era. Apart from insights about the structures and stakeholders of Nazi art trade, the book deliberately reveals gaps and flaws in the research and suggests approaches to further work. 

Gilbert Lupfer, Academic Director of the German Lost Art Foundation and co-editor of the volume, commented: “Today, more than six years after the world learned about the ‘Schwabing Art Trove’, we know a lot more than we did before, for instance about the movements of art in occupied France or in the Netherlands. It is very fortunate that many researchers who had already been instrumental in shedding light on the ‘Art Trove’ were willing to make their largely unpublished research findings available for this volume.” 

“Kunstfund Gurlitt. Wege der Forschung“ (Gurlitt Art Trove. Research pathways), edited by Andrea Baresel-Brand, Nadine Bahrmann and Gilbert Lupfer, is the second volume in the publication series “Provenire” released by De Gruyter (188 pages, 39.95 euros). 

In its publication series “Provenire”, the German Lost Art Foundation publishes scientific papers from the field of provenance research. 

The German Lost Art Foundation in Magdeburg was established in 2015 by Federation, the Länder and the national associations of local authorities. It is the central point of contact, nationally and internationally, for all matters pertaining to cultural property which was unlawfully seized. The Foundation’s primary focus is on cultural property taken from its owners as the result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property. The Foundation sees its work as an important contribution towards compensating victims for the injustice they have suffered.

Further details and ordering information here.