View Full Version : Nazi Stolen Art - who should keep ?

17th Nov 2013, 18:12
BBC News - Nazi-looted art: German collector says he owns pictures (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24977814)

Now there are different options on this where all art is handed back to original owner BUT who are original owners ?
Could it be proved they actually owned it and had not acquired it through nefarious means, i.e. 2 wrongs not making a right ?

Is perhaps a better way for a museum where all the art is stored and displayed with due tribute to those who owned or may have owned this art ?

Now existing owner may claim to have legitimately acquired this art as bought legally from a state in existence.................even though state was a :mad::mad: state led by a madman.

Having the art returned to those who claim it means it would likely disappear into vaults never to be seen again.

Existing posessor of the art should be offered a price, a very generous price with suggestion of taking it or going to jail as state investigates it for next 20 years.

What say others ?

17th Nov 2013, 18:43
I believe that there is (at least in British Law) a facet that good title to an item can be derived if the item(s) change hands in a bona fide deal between parties that have a right of ownership.

17th Nov 2013, 20:13
And from a recent article in Der Spiegel he does have legitimate right to many of them. Bought at auction by a corrupt and violent government, sometimes from persons who needed the cash quickly to emigrate from said country.

Some bought at auction or by private charter at the best the market would bear at the time.

It appears that some of the items may have been appropriated under circumstances that were either dubious in moral standing or outright illegal both then and now. They are the ones that the great grand children of the original owner will be lining up to contest.

When it can take over six months to even find and prove the original ownership of one painting, it is going to take a while to work through 1500 of them.

I would like to see the German government put them all on show for a year while the money grubbers go to it. It is art after all.

17th Nov 2013, 20:33
Well, in the UK I've read of stolen classic cars being returned by plod through long chains of innocent owners.

The Nazis stole a lot of property. Swiss banks are still sitting on much of it. Twisted barstewards hiding behind client confidentiality.

17th Nov 2013, 21:04
When you reach 80 years of age, what is the point of owning several hundred millions?

Is there inheritance tax in Germany? Would it have applied for Hildebrand Gurlitt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildebrand_Gurlitt)?

Erbschaftssteuer (Inheritance tax) Smaller bequests are exempt, i.e. 20 000 - 500 000 depending on the status of the beneficiary. Bequests larger than these values are taxed from 7% to 50%, depending on the status of the beneficiary and the size of the taxable amount (sections 16 and 19 Erbschaftsteuer- und Schenkungsteuergesetz)

17th Nov 2013, 22:46
Apparently this horde pales into insignifance when compared with the masses of material in the vaults of the Hermitage and other museums in the former USSR. Apparently as the Red Army were sweeping West through Germany in 1945, trainloads of looted art and antiques were already heading back East.

Fat chance of that lot ever being returned to its original owners!

Anyway, having spent most of my life dealing in antiques and collectables (admittedly at a much lower level than we are talking about here) I have come to the conclusion that none of it matters much - it's all just "stuff".

18th Nov 2013, 03:03
Well, I know a few people who had relatives exterminated by the Nazi thugs, or managed to flee with the clothes on their backs, I feel that WHATEVER it takes to prove the ownership of these properties can NEVER be enough!!!!

tony draper
18th Nov 2013, 07:06
Well as no one seems to have known of its existence or indeed missed it for the last sixty years or will miss it for the next sixty, apart from as few fartophiles, why not take it outside and burn it?
Stop a lot of argument that would.

18th Nov 2013, 08:13
Anyone who hides away (good)art, never to be seen by anyone - the people it was created for - deserves not to have or own said art.

18th Nov 2013, 08:59
I have a couple of dozen original water-colours and ink drawings from an Artist who we met by chance some years ago. This includes some custom works done for our wedding, and our current home. (done with a little artistic license)

Do I lose the right to own said works of art because only us and visitors to our home will see them? (You are welcome to come by, if you want)

18th Nov 2013, 09:29
Beautiful women should be put on display and not kept hidden away in private houses.

18th Nov 2013, 09:52
Anyone who hides away (good)art,

Ah, that sneaky little word "good".

Perhaps you'd like to start a thread where we discuss what is good art.

We ought to get that sorted out in a dozen or so responses.

Or maybe not!

18th Nov 2013, 10:24
By the terms of his will the ultimate owner of all property liberated by the Germans bequeathed his art collection to a gallery in Linz, Austria.

18th Nov 2013, 16:06
I'll come back to the point, a lot of this art collection was not liberated or stolen by the Nazis, but was the collection built up by Goering and his team buying at auction in the 1930s and early 40s.

Some was stolen from the, often Jewish, emigrants and from those destined for worse, but in this collection they are a small number. There are others that are impossible to verify provenance.

Irrespective of the morality of the buyers at the time, items bought at auction at market price do not normally become the property of a third generation descendant of the seller, just because the bad guys lost.