From REPENTANCE to RESTITUTION, Germany has done an excellent job of facing up to its Nazi past. There has been ONE PUZZLING EXCEPTION : A place where shadows linger. THAT IS THE ART WORLD.
Almost 1400 painting were found behind STACKS OF TINNED FOOD in a Munich Apartment, whose elderly owner Cornelius Gurlitt, is the son of a prominent Nazi-era art dealer. The paintings include those by Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and Chagall. They were found almost 70 years after Germany’s defeat.
The works fall into 3 main categories :
(1) Those bought by the German State, often in OCCUPIED COUNTRIES, at DISTRESSED PRICES, for Hitler’s projected Museum of World Art in his birthplace, the Austrian city of LINZ.
(2) Those plundered from the homes of their owners ——mostly Jews —— who were imprisoned or fled.
(3) Those confiscated by the Nazi authorities, as being degenerate or not in compliance with the conservative and didactic Nazi Art Canon.
The fate of art has justly been described THE LAST UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WORLD WAR–2. Until the German Art World is prepared to confront its past, those trying to fill in the gaps will depend on more CHANCE DISCOVERIES. Each new find, offers another glimpse of the Truth through an INCREASINGLY THREADBARE TISSUE OF LIES.