Lovis Corinth’s Three Graces Provenance Cleared

Lovis Corinth, Drei Grazien (1904) Photo: via Posterlounge
Lovis Corinth, Drei Grazien (1904) Photo: via Posterlounge

The Bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) will most likely get to keep Lovis Corinth’s Drei Grazien (1904) following a decision by the Limbach Commision that it was not looted by the Nazis in the lead up to World War Two. According to the dpa, the commission announced on Thursday that the painting was not obtained under circumstances that could be considered a forced sale.

Since 2002, members of the Levy family have fought for the painting’s restitution. They claim that the painting was seized by members of the Nazi regime in 1940 when members of the family were fleeing to the United States due to persecution.

According to their account, the 2.5 square meter painting was placed with other family belongings on a ship to New York but was seized before leaving Germany and thus never arrived in the States. However, citing travel documents for the painting that were recovered, the commission said that they have little doubt that Drei Grazien did indeed make the transatlantic voyage and ended up in the possession of family heirs in New York.

After an unspecified period of time, the painting is said to have resurfaced at the Buchholz Gallery Curt Valentin in New York City from which the Kunstmuseum Bern acquired it and returned it to Germany. The Bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlungen acquired the work in 1950 from the Bern museum. According to the report, the latest decision will likely be the end of the years-long battle between the two parties, despite the fact that the Limbach Commission’s rulings are not binding. The painting remains on a permanent loan to the Regensburger Kunstforum.


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