To Quell Doubts, France Exhibits Nazi-Looted Art Some 1,000 Works Plundered during World War II Are Still Unclaimed by Rightful Owners

By Gail Russell Chaddock, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 8, 1997 | Go to article overview

To Quell Doubts, France Exhibits Nazi-Looted Art Some 1,000 Works Plundered during World War II Are Still Unclaimed by Rightful Owners


Gail Russell Chaddock, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Visitors streaming past the new exhibit on the ground floor of Paris's Orsay museum aren't lingering to ponder each work. While some of the 130 paintings and drawings on display here are worth a longer look, many are not up to the quality of work usually hung on these walls, and others are outright fakes. But all are in need of a rightful owner.

This is the first in a series of exhibitions this month of artwork looted by the Nazis during World War II, returned to France, and "provisionally" absorbed into French national collections. Tomorrow, 857 other works of art will go on display in the Louvre, the Georges Pompidou Center (the museum of modern art), and 120 regional French museums.

Critics say France hasn't tried hard enough in the last 50 years to find the legitimate owners, many of whom were Jewish collectors sent away to Nazi death camps or forced to quickly sell their property in a bid to avoid them. France's national museums want to show that the critics are wrong - and to avoid the international criticism Swiss banks face over delays in answering questions about benefits from Nazi plunder of Jewish victims. "My decision to display these works this year in major national museums is in the interest of transparency. I want to show that the reality is more complex than rumors that say French museums have hidden 'treasures' stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis," said Culture Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy as he launched this exhibition April 2. Of the 61,000 objects brought back from Germany in 1945, more than 45,000 were restored to their owners by 1949, says Mr. Douste-Blazy. Of 15,000 remaining works, "including empty frames and blank canvases," most were sold. Some 2,000 were kept in Paris or loaned out to regional French museums. "Masterpieces are rare, even if they're not completely absent, and important works are permanently displayed and clearly marked MNR {Musees Nationaux Recuperation, or National Recovery Museums}," he adds. Unlike some other countries, France never established a deadline for requesting restitution for stolen artworks, despite three legislative efforts to do so. In the former Soviet Union, for example, stolen Nazi art was viewed as a "trophy" of war. Museum officials insist that France never completely absorbed recovered Nazi art into its collection and has always been open to claims for restitution. This month's exhibitions aim to set aside doubts on this point. For example, the new labels on these lost works give as much information as is known about a painting's past ownership. douard Manet's "Carnations and Clematis in a Crystal Vase" was purchased by Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in 1941 for 1 million French francs. Georges Seurat's "Ruins at Grandcamp" was owned by an anonymous German officer. Albert Hertel's "Still Life With a Turkey" was "perhaps bought from the antique dealer CFE Schmidt" and destined for Hitler's Linz museum. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

To Quell Doubts, France Exhibits Nazi-Looted Art Some 1,000 Works Plundered during World War II Are Still Unclaimed by Rightful Owners
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.