Category: stolen art in museums

(Not) On Display in London: Artworks Stolen From Fritz Gruenbaum


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.

Yours sincerely,

Ernst Vegelin


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.
Read more

Leopoldmuseum wants to restitute stolen artworks / Leopoldmuseum will restituieren

Charting a New Course | ARTnews.

“ . . . 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:

2011 02 15 Claim Leopoldmuseum (German only)

[scribd id=106133836 key=key-27gtplnzeunjihu3t2ji mode=scroll]

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!

Nazi Looted Art in US Museums – Professor Jennifer Kreder Speaks Out

Great interview with law professor Jennifer Kreder on Illinois Public Radio on artworks looted by the Nazis that are now in US museums that were smuggled into the US through Switzerland.  Get the shocking story here.

[vimeo 20800425 w=400 h=273]

Focus: Nazi Looted Art and U.S. Museums from Illinois Public Media on Vimeo.

On the Eve of Criminal Trial in U.S., Rudolph Leopold, Collector of Artworks Stolen from Jews, Dies in Vienna

Egon Schiele’s Dead City

Art collector Rudolph Leopold died today in Vienna, Austria.
In 1998, D.A. Robert Morgenthau seized two stolen artworks at the Museum of Modern Art that Leopold had loaned to the MoMA:  Egon Schiele’s Dead City and Schiele’s Portrait of Wally.
Leopold was scheduled to stand criminal trial this summer before the Hon. Loretta A. Preska in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after Judge Preska determined that Portrait of Wally was stolen.
But MoMA returned the stolen Dead City to the Leopold Museum in Austria.  The Austrian Provenance Commission’s head Dr. Christoph Bazil, has repeatedly promised to investigate Dead City‘s provenance and those of other Schiele’s stolen from Fritz Grunbaum that are in the Leopold and Albertina Museums in Vienna, but after 11 years, no report has issued.

Austria purchased Leopold’s collection and made Leopold director of the Leopold Museum for life.  It remains to be seen whether Austria will carry through on its promises to investigate and return the stolen works in Leopold’s collection.

Article 26 of the 1955 Austrian State Treaty requires Austria to return all property stolen from Nazi persecutees.  Yet Austria has not only failed to return the property, but repeatedly set up enabling legislation designed to frustrate claims and then let the legislation lapse.