For this week I chose the issue around the procurment of art that was looted or sold under duress. As was the case for the Munich Art Museum in Germany following a decades-long case around a Picasso called the Madame Soler painted in 1903.

Due to the dispute over the ownership of the painting, the Limbach Commission attempted to intervene on the case and the gallery where it was put on display for the past 60 years. Recently, the piece was removed from public display until the issue surrounding it procurment could be resolved. Due to the history of the piece and how it was moved around before landing in the Munich Art Museum, a statement was issued that the piece itself was not looted. However the case surrounding the painting is still under investigation.

What other case have you heard where an art piece was suspected to have been looted or sold under duress?

Madame Soler as formerly displayed in the Munich Museum art gallery

2 Thoughts to “Museum Controversy”

  1. Korovin Ellis

    A quick google search brought up several examples of Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Germans, selling their art to museums in order to fund their escape. One article details the sale of the “The Actor”: by Picasso by a Jewish refugee names Paul Leffman to museum for $13,200. The painting now valued at over 100 million dollars was later acquired by the Met. The estate of Paul Leffmann is now attempting to reclaim the painting claiming that Leffman’s flight from the Nazi’s constitutes duress, while the Met claims that duress only applies if the party acquiring the painting is the threat the owner is afraid of.

  2. MoHagani Magnetek

    Vincent Van Gogh’s “Meules de blé” (Stacks of Wheat) was sold under duress and looted during World War I I. Max Meirowsky, a Jewish collector purchased the painting in 1913. In order to escape the Nazis, he sold the painting to pay for his escape to Geneva, Switzerland. Eventually, the Nazis got their hands on the painting and after the war it ended up on private collections for over 30 years.

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