A new research project may give new impetus to the 65-year old search to track down the original ownership of paintings and other art works looted by the Nazis, mainly from Jews.
The research involves the digital archiving of all German auction catalogues from 1930-1945, which includes the entire Nazi era, as major clues in this search.
Heading the project, “German Sales, 1930-1945” at the Getty Research Institute is Christian Huemer, under a $174,0000 grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities and the German Research Foundation.
Huemer will be collaborating with German experts from Heidelberg University and the National Museum in Berlin.
Two current examples illustrate the complexity and drawn-out timeline of current looted art cases.
This week, the Leopold Museum in Austria agreed to pay $19 million to the estate of Bondi Jaras, a Jewish woman, whose “Portrait of Wally” by Egon Schiele was confiscated by the Nazis.
Closer to home, the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is embroiled in a lawsuit to force the museum to return two 500-year old works by Lucas Cranach the Elder to the heirs of a Dutch Jewish art dealer.