The “Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property”, better known as Limbach Commission after its first chair women, Jutta Limbach, was formed in 2003. We have covered various aspects of the Limbach Commission’s work, for example here and here. Jutta Limbach, the former president of the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) passed away in September 2016. Her successor as the chairman of the advisory commission is Hans-Jürgen Papier, also a former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court, and Jutta Limbach’s successor as the president of the court upon her retirement from judicial office in 2002.
Hans-Jürgen Papier will speak at the inaugural event of the Bonn Round Table on Art & Cultural Heritage Law (Bonner Gesprächskreis Kunst- und Kulturgutschutzrecht) on 4 July 2018 (see here for details). Matthias Weller (see here for his guest post on the Gurlitt case) has initiated the round table. He has been appointed, effective this summer term, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Professor for Art & Cultural Heritage Law at Bonn University. This chair was created as part of Bonn University’s initiative that saw the creation of two professorships dedicated to provenance research – a first at a German University, which we covered here earlier. I hope to be able to attend, and report on, the event.
In a judgment dated April 21, 2015, the Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgericht) Magdeburg held that the files of the so-called Limbach Commission or “Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property” by its full name – cannot be accessed on the basis of the German Freedom of Information Act (Informationsfreiheitsgesetz). Regular readers of this blog may recall that we reported the decision of the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) in the Hans Sachs restitution matter. The Hans Sachs restitution claims, before they were brought in court, had been dealt with by the Limbach Commission. The Limbach Commission had advised against the restitution of the Hans Sachs Collection from the German Historic Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum) to the heirs of Hans Sachs. Continue reading
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
Picasso, Chagall, Marc, Nolde, Spitzweg, Renoir, Macke, Courbet, Beckmann, Kandinsky, Kokoschka, Matisse, Liebermann and Dix – the names of the artists, and the sheer amount of art seized by German authorities in Munich in 2012 is making headlines around the world, since news magazine FOCUS broke the news on Sunday. Almost 1,500 paintings were seized, as part of a customs and tax investigation by German authorities, in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt. It is both temping and somewhat dangerous to come up with a legal assessment at this point in time, where many facts are not known. The Augsburg’s public prosecutor’s office (Staatsanwaltschaft Augsburg) held a press conference this morning and press reports are coming through as this post is written (here’s the link to the live blog from that press conference on FOCUS). Continue reading