Poland’s Ministry of Culture has reported that some paintings belonging to Poland may have been found in the valuable Hildebrand Gurlitt collection. The case revolves around the “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art) exhibition in Munich in 1937. In the same year, many works of ‘degenerate art’ were taken from the museums of Wrocław, Bytom and Szczecin to be shown as part of Munich’s “Entartete Kunst” exhibition. Hovever, the masterpieces were never returned to Poland, because they were confiscated by the German Nazis. The acquired paintings were intended for sale, and the person authorized to sell them was Hildebrand Gurlitt. During an interview on Radio RMF FM, journalist Konrad Piasecki asked Minister of Culture Bogdan Zdrojewski about Poland’s rights to these works. Bogdan Zdrojewski said, “It all depends on the legal status of the paintings, but the probability of getting them back is rather slim”. Hildebrand Gurlitt was one of the only authorised sellers involved in trafficking ‘degenerate art’ under direct orders from Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering. According to the Guardian, when he died his entire collection passed to his son, who did not get in touch with the authorities. This stolen collection sheds new light on an extremely dark time in modern German history. Modernist art was banned shortly after the Nazis came to power in Germany, because they considered it to be anti-German. The collection contains the paintings of Picasso, Chagall and Matisse, artists who the German Nazis believed were degenerates.
- Pressure Mounts to Clear Up Ownership of Nazi-Looted Art (nytimes.com)
- Could cracking the case of the Nazis’ stolen art lead to other looted treasure? (theprovince.com)
- Germany Says Art in Munich Haul May Be Nazi Loot (bloomberg.com)
- Nazi art discovery in Germany could pose legal challenges (latimes.com)
- Nazi hoard may be tip of iceberg (theage.com.au)