Private collector claims innocence in restitution tussle

A private art collector has vowed to defend himself against a restitution claim for a painting by Andreas Achenbach.

Wolfgang Peiffer lent a number of works from his private collection for an exhibition at the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf in collaboration with the Museum L8A in Baden-Baden. Among the loans was Achenbach’s ‘Sicilian Landscape’ (1861), which has been claimed by the heirs of Jewish art dealer Max Stern. After it was registered as a missing work by Interpol and on the German database lostart.de the painting was recognised by a researcher at the L8A exhibition. When New York’s Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO) tried to contact Peiffer about the work he did not respond. Continue reading

Gurlitt treasures returned to rightful owners

Two works from the Gurlitt treasure trove of art have been restituted to the descendants of their Jewish owners.

A painting by Camille Pissarro and a drawing by Adolph Menzel are two of four works to have been returned to their rightful owners since investigations into the collection’s questionable provenance began in 2012. A German government team tasked with researching the Gurlitt collection have suggested that a further 91 artworks are suspected of being looted from, or sold under duress by Jewish families fleeing Nazi persecution during World War II.   Continue reading

Sixteen-year legal battle over Pissarro painting returns to court

In one of the longest-running art restitution disputes in the US, the descendants of Lilly Cassirer, who fled Nazi Germany with her husband in 1939, are fighting tooth and nail against Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum to reclaim Camille Pissarro’s ‘Rue Saint-Honoré dans l’après-midi. Effet de pluie’ (1897).

The Cassirer family claims that Lilly and her husband were forced to trade the £24 million French Impressionist work for their exit visas in order to escape persecution. The painting changed hands between numerous art dealers and collectors over the course of a decade before finally arriving in Spain in 1993. When the Cassirers finally found the painting in a museum catalogue in 1999 they requested its return. The Museum refused and the family filed suit, commencing legal proceedings which have ensued for the past 16 years. Continue reading

Nazi-looted painting returned to rightful owners and then purchased back

New York’s Neue Galerie announced on Tuesday (27 September) that it had returned a painting looted by the Nazis to its rightful owners before purchasing it back from them at its current fair market value.

The Museum agreed to return Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s ‘Nude’ (1914) to the heirs of a Jewish shoe manufacturer and Expressionist art collector after they approached the Museum a little over a year ago with a potential restitution claim. The repurchase price has not been revealed but other works by Schmidt-Rottluff’s have commanded over US$1million (approximately £768,357) in recent times.  Continue reading

Art law experts frustrated over response to latest restitution claim

“Disingenuous” and “depressing” is how art law experts are describing the response of Bavarian authorities to the latest art restitution claim by the heirs of a Jewish family who fled Nazi persecution during World War II.

The experts, which include art lawyers Christopher Marinello of the Art Recovery Group in London and Nicholas O’Donnell, shared their frustrations over the official response to the claim with artnet News. Continue reading