However, after the Nazis came to power, “Composition with Blue” was confiscated as a “degradation” in the relentless purge of contemporary art from a German museum organized by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. .. More than 20,000 works were confiscated from about 100 museums and stored in Berlin’s wheat silos. “Composition With Blue” has an “entartete Kunst”, an inventory sticker to indicate that it is a decadent art.
After being determined by the Nazis to be available for sale abroad, this painting was one of the selected groups of art dealers appointed by Adolf Hitler to sell “degenerate” works to foreign buyers. It was handed over to a Karl Buchholz. Buchholtz sent it to his New York-based business partner, Curt Valentin, for sale in the United States.
Among the potential customers Valentin came into contact with was Alexander Dorner, a former director of the Hanover Museum, who fled the Nazis and headed the Rhode Island Design School Museum. Donner was keen to buy works that were once confiscated from the museum he led. However, according to a study conducted by German lawyer Gunner Schnabel and Provence researcher Monica Tatsuko for heirs, he said that “composition with blue” was personal, not a museum. Recognized that, and declined.
Valentin then sold it to New York collector Albert E. Gallatin in 1939. Gallatin believed that the painting belonged to the Hanover Museum before it was confiscated. Faced with public criticism from US collectors who purchased art confiscated from German museums, he “restored these paintings” at the New York Times on October 29, 1939, when the Nazis were someday expelled. It is suggested that they return to the museum where they once hung. “
Mondrian, who left Paris in 1938 before the outbreak of World War II, arrived in New York, where Gallatin lived. In December 1939, he wrote to Gallatin, “I was very pleased to hear about the exhibition in which you arranged my work. My Hannover photographs are now very well placed.” According to Love at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, he later agreed to restore the painting of Gallatin. Evidence that Mondrian acknowledged and accepted the ownership of Gallatin.
However, heirs claim that Mondrian was unaware that he held a valid claim to the property seized by the Nazis, as World War II was still intensifying. In fact, heirs claim that even under Nazi law, confiscation of art from non-German individuals was prohibited.