Art Law: New Recommendation of the Advisory Commission in Grawi vs. Düsseldorf

On 26 March 2021, the Advisory Commission published its recommendation regarding the restitution claim brought by the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi against Düsseldorf. As noted earlier, the Advisory Commission appears to be on track for a new record: It started the year with two recommendations regarding  Max Fischer v. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, and Heinrich Rieger v. Stadt Köln within a couple of days, and now issued its third decision in 2021. To put this into perspective: From its inception in 2005 until 2020, the Advisory Commission had issued a total of 18 recommendations. With one exception, it never issued more than two recommendations in one year, and never more than three.

In its most recent decisions, the Advisory Commission recommends that the City of Düsseldorf returns the  Franz Marc painting “Füchse” to the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi. The recommendation was not made unanimously. It was passed by a majority, with six members voting in favour, and three against the recommendation. Continue reading

Art Law: New Recommendation of the Advisory Commission in Rieger v. City of Cologne

From its beginning in 2005 until 2020, the Advisory Commission has issued a total of 18 recommendations, and with one exception, it has never issued more that two recommendations in one year – in 2016, three recommendations were handed down. Given its start into 2021, the Advisory Commission might be on track for a new record. It  started with two recommendations within a couple of days: On 2 February 2021, the Advisory Commission published its decision in Max Fischer v. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, followed by a second recommendation in Heinrich Rieger v. Stadt Köln on 8 February 2021. Continue reading

Art Law: Restitution of Looted Art and the Reform of Private Foundation Law

The restitution case of Fe­lix Hil­des­hei­mer’s heirs against the Ha­ge­mann Foundation made news recently: On 18 January 2021, the Advisory Commission (Limbach Commission) issued a press release that for the first time in its history, a recommendation it had made had not been implemented. The Hildesheimer case also highlighted an argument that the law on private foundations might be an impediment to restitution.  Continue reading

Art Law: Limbach Commission Advises against Restitution of Adolf von Menzel’s “Pariser Wochentag”

On February 3, 2015, the Advisory Commission on the Return of Cultural Property (Beratende Kommission im Zusammenhang mit der Rückgabe NS-verfolgungsbedingt entzogener Kulturgüter) or Limbach Commission for short, published its recommendation regarding a claim for restitution of the Behrens family. The Behrens family requested that a painting by Adolph von Menzel, “Pariser Wochentag”, which is now owned by the Düsseldorf Museum Kunstpalast, should be returned to them. The Limbach Commission finds that the sale of the painting in 1935 to the Düsseldorf municipal museum (Städtische Kunstsammlung Düsseldorf) for 33,000 Reichsmark was not a forced sale or a sale at an undervalue which resulted from Nazi persecution of the Behrens family. Continue reading