The decision was taken in the utmost discretion. Its formalization should be much noise. France is preparing to make seven paintings looted during World War II to two Jewish families and currently kept in French museums? Ais.
After several years of investigation and research conducted by various organizations and historians, the government decided to restore these works, signed Alessandro Longhi, Sebastiano Ricci, Gaspare Diziani Salvator Fontebasso Francesco Gaetano Gandolfi, Fran? Ois- Charles Palko and Pieter Jansz. van Asch. Four of them are in the Louvre, the other three museums in Tours, Saint-Etienne and Agen. For the museum Adolf Hitler wanted to build in his hometown of Linz, these classic Italian paintings, Dutch and German were recovered by the Allies in Germany and returned to France.
Seven at one blow, so: for the years 1999-2000, but never such a large amount of work had been done. This event illustrates fa? Strengths offered by the digital revolution is brilliant. It highlights the difficulties often deficiencies observed so far in identifying the owners of works dormant. Finally, he reminded the reality of the landscape at the Liberation, with its mass of objects to manage its amazing success (45 000 objects returned on some 100,000 looted during the war), but also its misdirection.
Filed under MNR707 number in the registry tables of unknown origin, the Dutch genre scene by Pieter van Asch (1603-1678) would never have to? come to France. Before the Second World War, its owner, the banker Josef Wiener, lived in Prague. His private collection of Brueghel, Backhuysen, Reynolds, Backer and Snyder included a painting attributed to the Dutch painter named Barent Gael front of the hostel.
After the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis in 1939, the Gestapo enters the apartment of Wiener and grabbed jewelry, carpets, furniture, paintings. Josef Wiener was deported to Theresienstadt July 30, 1942 and killed five days later. His wife, Hede, managed to flee to London.
As for the paintings, many were dispersed at a sale in November 1941. Before we find the inn in the collection of Martin Bormann Nazi dignitary. The canvas is transferred to the Munich Central Collecting Point.
Difficult to navigate in the tens of thousands of objects gathered here by the Allies. Confusion with another Barent Gael, France seized, led the table to Paris. The error was quickly recognized, especially as the fabric is not Gael, but Van Asch, according to the French experts? Ais. It therefore includes the repertoire of works dormant (MNR) under the new allocation and under the name of La Halte, since it represents a soldier on horseback stopped at an inn.
A different way, a new author, a foreign country … The research started in Germany by the widow of Josef Wiener, the Liberation remain unsuccessful. And in France, the owner is still unknown. The table is deposited in the Louvre. He stayed there until today. In the mid-2000s, the son of the second husband Hede Wiener resumes the search. Meanwhile, many German records, English, American, and that the MNR has been posted. Comparing the description of the catalog of 1941 with the image of MNR, a first approximation is made. Dimensions co? Coincide. When the change of assignment is found, the question is no longer possible. In early 2012, the Ministry of Culture concluded the necessary return of the painting. Matignon confirmed. Since we expect a date to be found.
The presentation of the six tables Neumann collection should provide an opportunity. This time it is a good comfortable French history?, If we can say that tells the saga of these works. That of its immigrants, already robbed in their country of origin, and who believe they can find refuge in the land of freedom. Richard Neumann is one of them. Upon entry of German troops into Austria, the textile industrialist left Vienna, joined by his wife and daughter. Behind them, they left their business, their home and some of their major paintings collection, requisitioned for Austrian museums. But most of the tables below. End of 1941, the fate of the Jews in France becomes untenable, another exile is required. To pay the smugglers, he sells or pleased t sell out, his entire collection.
Over the next few years, Richard Neumann, installed in Cuba, do not think too much his works. Contrema? Be a textile factory in the day, a lecturer in art history at night, he tries to rebuild. After the Liberation, however, he took the French authorities? Ease. A carved chest and a table shall be restored. It will also be compensated by the German authorities for the missing furniture. But most of its applications are unsuccessful.
End of 1990, the Matteoli Commission, charged by the government to reopen the files, looks at his case. “In the archives, we have found an application written by the daughter of Richard Neumann fa? Is pretty basic,” laments the art historian Muriel Bastier, then assigned to the commission and today ‘ Today responsible for artwork on the Commission to compensate victims of spoliation (CIVS). The document does indeed state a “large format” Veronese, Abraham and the angel.
A table laid in the Louvre has been entrusted to the Museum of Saint-Etienne in the title Abraham and the Three Angels. But its format (88 ?? 87 cm) and especially its author, Sebastiano Ricci, does not establish the link.
DATE OF RETURN
This is an Austrian historian Sophie Lillie, spoliation Viennese specialist, who will. Requested by the grand-son of Richard Neumann, Tom Selldorff she first track tables requisitioned by the Nazis in Vienna.
After ten years of battle, six works were returned to the family in 2007 and 2012. Similarly, starting from a list compiled before the war, she reconstructs the story of six “MNR”, purchased by three German merchants in Paris and for the museum Adolf Hitler in Linz. In German archives, she found evidence that the works were returned to France. It remains for him to compare with the MNR register now online. “Without the Internet, I would probably never finish it” recognize? Does.
Must still convince the French authorities? Ease. If CIVS switch quickly, the Direction des Mus??es de France has two years to respond positively … for two tables. For the other four, she wants “clarification”. CIVS overrides. In December 2012, she recommends the return of six works, quickly followed by Matignon. “Mr. Selldorff was 82 years old, time was running out, especially since this issue is exemplary,” insists Muriel Bastier.
Copy effect: where necessary sharing among heirs often leads families to sell at exorbitant prices the paintings returned, Tom Selldorff got other beneficiaries that they waive them. “Our goal is not to make money, but to our children and grandchildren love the art of my grandfather,” he says, on the phone, the United States.
Today, Tom Selldorff not waiting for one thing: the return date. “It is not yet determined,” said Will we in the Ministry of Culture. The last time the old man saw the pictures, he was a child: it was in Vienna before the war, in the apartment of Richard Neumann.
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