“Winter” by artist Gari Melchers belonged to German philanthropist Rudolf Mosse. The New York museum Arkell renounced the rights to the work, which will return to the Mosse family
October 24, 2019 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
Gari Melchers' “Winter” was on display in a New York state museum. It had been confiscated by the Nazis from a Jewish family (AP)
A painting seized by the Nazis from a Jewish family in 1933 was recovered by the FBI from a museum in upstate New York.
The work “Winter” (Winter), by American artist Gari Melchers , was part of the collection of the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie until September 10 , according to federal court documents. The recovery is part of an international effort to find works of art stolen by the Nazis after their rise to power.
The German publisher and philanthropist Rudolf Mosse initially acquired the painting in 1900, at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition. The Nazi government seized it after Felicia and Hans Lachmann Mosse fled Germany in early 1933 and left the family's extensive art collection, which was placed under state administration, according to federal prosecutors.
The Nazis had persecuted the Mosses for being Jewish and for their affiliation with the Berliner Tageblatt , a newspaper critical of the party, according to court documents.
“The Nazis commissioned Karl Haberstock of the Rudolf Lepke auction house to liquidate the Mosse family's art collection,” according to forfeiture documents filed by the United States Attorney's Office.
Bartlett Arkell, the first president of the Beech-Nut Packing Company, purchased the painting from a gallery in New York in 1934 for his personal collection and the work later became part of the collection of the museum that bears his name, 50 miles away. northwest of Albany.
Suzan D. Friedlander, the museum's executive director and chief curator, said in a statement that the institution's leaders were “of course very upset to learn of the story of the Nazi seizure of the painting from the Mosse family.”
The museum gave up all rights to the painting , now known as “Skaters” or “Snow”.
The painting will remain at the FBI office in Albany until it is reunited with the Mosse family.
In 2017, hundreds of works of art that had been hidden by Cornelius Gurlitt, son of an art collector from the Nazi era, were exhibited from November in the cities of Bern -Switzerland- and Bonn -Germany-, such as part of a larger program to recover the assets of Jewish families during Nazism.
Before the exhibition, a Munich court ruled that Gurlitt, who passed away in 2014, had been in full use of his powers when he donated his collection of approximately 1,500 works to the Kunstmuseum Bern , which pledged to return any looted work to collectors Jews.
The collection, which had been found by the German police before being donated, consists of about 1,500 paintings – including works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Nolde – that the Nazis would have stolen and that could be worth about USD 1,348 million in the market .
With information from AP