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Center for Art Collection Ethics

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Center for Art Collection Ethics

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Women of Weinsberg
May 15, 2018

A just settlement

A recent dispute over a Nazi-plundered painting has led to an unusual agreement between the city of Weinsberg in Bavaria and the Max and Iris Stern Foundation of Montreal. For nearly fifty years, the municipality has proudly displayed Women of Weinsberga 17th-century painting by Dutch artist Gerrit Claesz Bleke. A depiction of local medieval resistance to King Conrad III during the Holy Roman Empire, the work itself has a turbulent past from the Nazi era. The prewar owner, Jewish dealer and gallery owner Max Stern, sold it under duress in Düsseldorf along with four hundred other works in his collection. Stern fled to Britain and eventually emigrated to Canada, where he re-established his art dealership.


In 2014, the Max Stern Art Restitution Project of Montreal discovered the painting in Weinsberg and approached the city to reach a settlement. Last fall, local authorities agreed to restitute the painting to the Foundation, which then sold it back to the city at an undisclosed price. It is an example of just settlements that can be achieved when museums and other entities recognize the moral responsibility of restitution in response to valid claims.


Photo Credit: This 17th-century painting, Women of Weinsberg, was found to be one of the hundreds of artworks Jewish German art dealer Max Stern was forced to liquidate under the Nazi regime. (Courtesy of city of Weinsberg / Max Stern Art Restitution Project). Retrieved from montrealgazette.com.


Louvre Plundered Art
April 10, 2018

French report denounces "inefficiency and a lack of ambition" in research on Nazi-looted art

April 10, 2018 | Elizabeth Campbell, Director

An internal French government report issued in early April 2018 sharply criticizes policy toward Nazi-looted art held by the state since the late 1940s. The latest provenance (ownership) research indicates that a significant portion of the works were stolen from Jews or sold by them under varying degrees of duress due to Nazi and French persecution during the Second World War. Audrey Azoulay, former French Minister of Culture and current head of UNESCO, commissioned the report and it was written by David Zivie of the cultural heritage administration.


Photo Credit: Paintings looted or bought by German occupiers during World War II were recently put on display together at the Louvre in Paris.  Credit:  Christophe Ena/Associated Press. Retrieved from nytimes.com