MFAH accused of holding onto artwork Jewish heirs say was stolen by Nazis in 1938

by AryanArtnews
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Houston’s premier museum confronts Chilean family in federal court Thursday over allegations that the museum improperly obtained 18th-century paintings stolen by the Nazis from Jewish collectors during World War II doing. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston documents allegations that Bernard Bellott’s sale of landscaped works was made at the request of the ancestors of the parties to the proceedings, through appropriate channels before the war.

The collector’s family believes that the sale was forced under anti-Semitic economic pressure and Nuremberg law, and states that the painting should be returned. The Monumentmen Foundation for Art Preservation believes that the work belongs to the collector’s family. Anna Bottinelli, chairman of the Foundation and head of research on art discovery, told MFAH in a statement last summer that evidence of an organizational investigation would “quickly return Bellott’s paintings to legitimate heirs.” There is an urgent obligation. “

Judge Keith Ellison of the US District Court will need to determine whether the heir’s proceedings will benefit and proceed to trial following Thursday’s hearing.

Art once owned by a wealthy Jewish family was confiscated by Hitler’s army and, in some cases, hidden during the occupation. A group of European and American curators, historians and librarians, who became known as Monumentmen, discovered thousands of these predicaed paintings at the Altaussee salt mine in Austria. The grandson of one such collector sued the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and stated that he was the “legitimate owner” of the painting, one of the works excavated by the Monumentmen.

The painting in question, “Pirna’s Marketplace,” is derived from the Commission of King Augustus III of Poland, who also held the title of Elector of Saxony, according to court documents. The realistic cityscape of the city that now belongs to Germany shows a lively market with the Sonnenstein Castle in the background. Bellott has drawn some small autographed replicas of the original market for other patrons. This was a common practice.


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One of these replicas was later owned by German Jewish department store mogul and art collector Max James Emden. Maggiore.

The museum, in a background article on its website, was set up by the Führer before the war, and in 1937 Emden went through the owner of a Jewish gallery to Hitler’s art dealer Karl Haberstock with three bellots. He states that he has taken steps to sell the paintings. Many of the works directed at Hitler’s museum were hidden during the war. Researchers at the Houston Museum discovered that three Emden Belots were taken to Munich’s central collection point after the collapse of Berlin in May 1945. Two of these works were believed to have been acquired by voluntary compulsory sale and are therefore the property of the German government. In 2019, the German government returned these paintings to Emden’s heirs.

The third bellot of the Pirna Marketplace, known as 1025 Pirna, is now considered to be a museum painting. The work was returned to the Dutch government by the Allies in 1946 and then passed through official channels to Hugo Moser, an international art dealer with a gallery in New York, and sold to Samuel Cress in New York, the museum said. I am. yoke. Cress presented his work in 1961 as a gift to MFAH.

The Chilean heirs who sued Houston are the grandchildren of collectors Juan Carlos, Michelle and Nicholas Emden. They say that Monumentmen mistakenly transferred Pirna’s paintings to the Dutch government as part of the transportation of other stolen works of art to the Netherlands. They asked the monumentmen to return the work to a Dutch official, but their message was that the Dutch official returned a replica of Emden to a German art dealer in New York City and he sold it. Sometimes the dealer says he came after creating a fake document of his history.

Researchers at MFAH have determined that it is voluntary for Max Emden to sell three bellots to the German government in 1938. Researchers discovered that Emden sold the painting through his many years of dealership, and he “openly pursued and received his asking price.”

“No new information was revealed that would change the voluntary character of the 1938 sales that Emden started,” said a museum spokesman. “The museum is taking appropriate steps to seek dismissal for multiple reasons.”

Emden’s grandchildren, the Nazi Jews, through a law intended that Max Emden’s rapid financial decline would separate Jews from the German economy and strip their assets to benefit the Third Reich. It is said to have directly correlated with persecution of humans. By April 1933, they said in court documents that the Nazi government’s financial restrictions on Jews like Emden had deliberately lost their assets. They said their grandfather’s securities portfolio in a bank in Hamburg was frozen. He was also prevented from collecting rental income for his property.

The proceedings say the Nazis sent them to centralized camps, eradicated them, deprived them of their citizenship, and forced them to abandon their businesses and businesses, the proceedings say. As a result, the textile trading company in Emden was liquidated and all cash flows to Emden in Germany were suspended.

The Houston Museum notes that the heirs’ controversy has been delayed in the background. According to court documents, the museum says the family did not challenge the ownership of the painting on multiple previous occasions when given the opportunity.

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The grandchildren blame the museum for their delay in their proceedings.

“For years, by choice or deliberate ignorance, the museum obscures the facts, dismisses evidence of the true history of the Emden 1025 Pilna, and is rational common to major museums with such vast resources. He took steps and even refused to confirm the correct history (and ownership). According to court records, the Emden heirs had the opportunity to personally inspect the painting and its original frame to identify the mark. Emden 1025 Pilna, including denying.

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