In the case of the heirs of Hedwig Lewenstein Weyermann and Irma Lewenstein Klein v. Bayerische Landesbank, the Advisory Commission’s decision recommending the restitution of Wassily Kandinsky’s painting Das bunte Leben (The Colourful Life) was published on 13 June 2023. Following a decision to that effect by the Bavarian Landtag, the federal state’s legislature, Bayerische Landesbank has now decided to accept the recommendation and to return the painting. Bayerische Landesbank is a public sector bank owned by the Bavarian state and the Bavarian Sparkassen. Continue reading
Today’s election of Olaf Scholz as Angela Merkel’s successor marks the official start of the new „traffic light“ coalition government. The new government draws its name from the colours traditionally associated with the supporting parties: „red“ Social Democrats, „yellow“ Liberals and the “Green” Party. These three parties have set out their legislative programme in a 177-page coalition agreement (Koalitionsvertrag). Both Nazi looted art and art from a colonial context feature in the Coalition Agreement. Almost inevitably, like in other fields, the Coalition Agreement is short on detail. For Nazi looted art, however, its brevity notwithstanding, the Coalition Agreement defines four concrete legislative goals*. Here they are, with my initial assessment: Continue reading
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
Yesterday, the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp (S. Ct. 2021) and today, we have Ted Folkman of Letters Blogatory reviewing it:
This is the case of the Welfenschatz, the Guelph treasure said to have been stolen by the Nazis from its Jewish owners. The claim was that Hermann Göring, one of Hitler’s most powerful ministers, had coerced the Jewish owners of the treasure to sell it for a fraction of its value to the Prussian government in the early 1930s. Continue reading