Berlin Restitutes Eight Looted Artworks to Jewish Heirs

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation has restituted eight artworks to the heirs of the Jewish publisher Rudolf Mosse. The inquiry into the artworks’ provenance was swift, Monopol reports, and it concluded that the Nazis looted the collection from the publisher’s daughter, who was living in Berlin at the time.

The foundation announced on Monday that the works, most of which are antique animal figurines, will remain on loan in the Berlin State Museums. The foundation has identified the pieces following a systematic review of its inventory for possible Nazi-looted art, and subsequently searched for the heirs.

According to Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the Mosse Art Restitution Project submitted a formal inquiry about two objects in 2014. “I am delighted that after ongoing research, we have been able to come to a quick, fair, and just solution to this case,” he stated.

Rudolf Mosse (1843-1920) was one of the most influential publishers of the Weimar Republic. His daughter, Felicia-Lachmann-Mosse (1888-1972), inherited her father’s art collection. In 1933, she was forced to flee from the Nazis and immigrated to the US. The family’s fortune was confiscated.

An estimated 100,000 artworks and other cultural artifacts were looted or stolen by the Nazis. Most of these works haven’t been restituted. While many remain in museums across the world, others are privately owned, and countless others have been lost forever or destroyed.

Berlin was moved by another case of restitution earlier this week, adapted for the big screen. The new film Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren, premiered at the 65th International Film Festival in Berlin this Monday. It tells the story of Maria Altmann’s legal battle with the Austrian Belvedere Museum over the restitution of a portrait of her aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, painted by Gustav Klimt (see Helen Mirren Champions Restitution of Nazi-Looted Art).



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