Düsseldorf Returns Painting Seized by Nazis During Austrian Occupation – ARTnews.com
The German city of Düsseldorf announced this week that it had returned an 18th-century painting to the heirs of a Jewish family who owned it during World War II.
Otto and Julie Klein, two Jewish wine wholesalers, fled Vienna on March 13, 1938, a date known in history as the Anschluss or annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany. The family left their business and home behind and fled to Budapest. S.Quickly confiscated by the Nazis, their holdings, including an abundance of paintings, ended up on the auction block Dusseldorf. The family had no access to the proceeds of the sale, only two Works, including a landscape from the 18th century by Johann Christian Brand, were returned by the city to the couple’s heirs.
Brand was an influential Austrian painter at the end of the Baroque period. The restituted painting, entitled Landscape, appeared in a foreclosure sale at Dorotheum, a large auction house in Central Europe.
The work had ended up in the city’s art collection since 1940, probably via the Düsseldorf art dealer Hans Bammann. The entire collection was checked to identify pieces that were confiscated from their rightful owners during the occupation.
The brand landscape was listed on the Lost Art Database, a record of cultural assets removed from their owners by the Nazis. The database tries to restore the origin of its holdings, which is often a difficult task in many cases due to the lack of documentation. The full scope of the works of art traded between 1933 and 1945 by the Nazis and later by the Soviet Trophy Commissions is still unknown.