January 20, 2023 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET
Today, more than 75 years after the end of WWII, cases to recover artwork looted by the Nazis are being litigated across the USA. This program will discuss recent developments in the law affecting such artwork, including a new law that took effect in New York State on August 10, 2022 and the expiration of the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act’s extension of statutes of limitations for certain claims known prior to December 16, 2016. Hear from lawyers and a client who have successfully pursued claims for restitution of artwork, and learn from a lawyer/international business director for one of the world’s preeminent auction houses, about the law, the history and the ethical considerations involved in the still-unfolding cases resulting from one of history’s greatest thefts.
This column was published on April 20, 2022 in the Austrian daily newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten
Diese Kolumne erschien am 20.04.2022 in der österreichischen Tageszeitung Salzburger NachrichtenDer Traum vom Café Grünbaum in Hitlers Geburtshaus
In a deeply researched opinion that it appears could embolden legal efforts by Jewish heirs to reclaim Nazi-stolen art worldwide, a state appeals court Tuesday ruled that two highly valued early 20th century paintings looted by the Nazis belong to the heirs of the Austrian Jewish entertainer who first collected them.NY Appeals Court Explains Why Nazi-Stolen Paintings Belong With Jewish Collector's Heirs _ New York Law Journal
Jonathan Petropoulos research and scholarship from 2008 to the present reaffirms that Fritz Grünbaum lost his art collection, including the Artworks, due to Nazispoliation. Historical records show that both Fritz Grünbaum’s property and the property of his wife and widow, Elisabeth Grünbaum (“Elisabeth”), were under the control of “Aryan” trustee Ludwig Rochlitzer who was appointed by the Nazis to liquidate their property in January 1939 pursuant to the 3 December 1938 Aryan Trustee Act.
In his striking report he summerizes and discusses the direct evidence showing Nazi control of Fritz Grünbaum’s art collection in 1939 through his death in 1941.
Jonathan Petropoulos Rebuttal Report
The evidence that the Nazis had custody of Fritz Grünbaum (imprisoned in the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps) and his artworks (stored and “blocked” in a Schenker & Co. warehouse, an entity utilized by the Nazis to despoil property) is overwhelming, reliable, and uncontroverted.
A Small Victory in Pursuit of Looted Art
By Louis Jacobson ’92
Published in the May 13, 2015, issue
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Soon after writing this blog entry an e-mail arrived:
Dear Mr Dowd,
It has been brought to my attention that an item concerning loans to The Courtauld Gallery’s forthcoming Egon Schiele exhibition has been placed on a website for which you are listed as one of the contacts. On that basis I am writing to you to let you know that the three works mentioned there are not due to form part of the exhibition in London.
Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen
Head of The Courtauld Gallery
The heirs of Fritz Grünbaum would like to thank Mr. Vegelin very much for promptness and proficiency in handling this matter.
Von Grünbaum bis Gurlitt – 60 Jahre Tradition des Handels mit Raubkunst
From Grünbaum to Gurlitt – a tradition for 60 years in trading with looted art
“ . . . I think we should come to terms with history.” And, he adds, “Nowadays, I don’t think a museum can afford not to approach this in a proactive and positive manner. What I think sets me apart from many other people of the same positive approach is that I think the best way to deal with it is to talk and to come to a mutually positive conclusion…”
(Diethard Leopold, Son of Rudolf Leopold)
We are very happy about Diethard Leopolds will to return looted artworks and therefore want to be of help in his efforts.
We kindly remind the Leopold Museum Privatstiftung of the claim for restitution regarding the collection Fritz Grünbaum, unanswered since February 15, 2011:
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For the 15 Drawings & paintings from the Collection Grünbaum find details here
So, as stated by Diethard Leopold:
“. . . That’s why I say let’s get together and speak, …”
We are waiting for his reply!
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today in a case involving the Estate of Fritz Grunbaum.
Grunbaum was arrested while attempting to flee from the Nazis. After his arrest, he never again had physical possession of any of his artwork, including the Drawing. The power of attorney, which he was forced to execute while in the Dachau concentration camp, divested him of his legal control over the Drawing. Such an involuntary divestiture of possession and legal control rendered any subsequent transfer void.
Fritz Grunbaum’s art collection made headlines when D.A. Robert Morgenthau seized Egon Schiele’s Dead City from the MoMA in New York City. At the same time, Morgenthau seized Egon Schiele’s Portrait of Wally, which was also stolen. Portrait of Wally was returned by Austria this summer.
The Grunbaum heirs are waiting on Austria to make a decision on whether or not to return Dead City and the other artworks stolen from Fritz Grunbaum that are now in the Albertina and Leopold Museums. Austria has promised to issue a report soon, and then The Austrian Commission for Provenance Research is expected to rule.