Grosz Heirs File Suit Against MoMA for Artworks Unlawfully Taken During Nazi Era

George Grosz, The Poet Max Herrmann-Neisse

The heirs of George Grosz, a famous Weimar period artist and relentless critic of the Nazis and German military establishment, filed suit in New York on Friday, April 10, 2009 against the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for refusing to return three artworks created by Grosz and left behind by him when he fled Germany in 1933 to avoid Nazi threats against his life. The artworks, Portrait of the Poet Max Herrmann-Neisse, Self-Portrait with Model, and Republican Automatons, were left behind in Germany with his Galerist Alfred Flechtheim. Eventually Flechtheim was also forced to flee Germany due to Nazi persecution and the artworks were lost after Flechtheim’s death.

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Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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One-Armed Pianist, Suicides Perk Up Wittgenstein Family History

Kurt, Paul and Hermine Wittgenstein, from left, Max Salzer, Leopoldine Wittgenstein, Helene Salzer and Ludwig Wittgenstein speak while on leave from war at Neuwaldegg in Vienna in this handout photo from the summer of 1917

Even in the exotic Vienna of 100 years ago, the Wittgenstein clan stood out for its density of eccentrics. How many families could boast of a one-armed pianist and a child-beating philosopher?

Alexander Waugh’s “The House of Wittgenstein” has at least one stupefying anecdote per page as he describes this stunningly maladroit bunch of cultivated nuts, sweeties, intellectuals, philanthropists and misanthropes who in 1913 inherited the staggering steel fortune assembled by their father, Karl Wittgenstein, also an accomplished bugler.

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Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 8:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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MacDougall's Sells $22.3 Million in Art as Russian Week Ends

MacDougall Arts Ltd., a London auction house specializing in Russian art, sold 10.85 million pounds ($22.3 million) of such artworks yesterday and today. They were the last of
five days of Russian art sales at three auction houses that grossed a total of 88.65 million pounds.

MacDougall’s total presale estimate was 10 million pounds to 14 million pounds. All 454 lots, most of which came from American and European collections, were 19th- and 20th-century paintings, with a large selection of Soviet-era non-conformism. MacDougall’s said 90 percent of the buyers were born in the former Soviet Union, and half are Moscow-based.

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Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sketches signed by Hitler sold at auction

Adolf Hitler

A collection of sketches and two greeting cards signed by Adolf Hitler were sold at a Montreal auction for $32,400 on July 19. Four architectural sketches – done in charcoal, pencil and watercolour – were sold for between $6,500 and $7,500 each. One includes the Nazi leader’s corrections in red pencil on sketches of the opera house in his hometown of Linz, Austria. The two postcards, which date from New Year’s Day 1935 and Christmas 1938, brought $2,100 and $2,300 respectively. The lots were purchased by anonymous buyers via telephone bidding. The collector who presented the items wished to remain anonymous as well. As many participants of the sales note, the auction room was silent during the bidding. Just before the Hitler pieces were brought out, curtains were drawn and the auction house’s front door was shut. Officials said the measures were to protect the confidentiality of the bidders.

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Published in: on July 21, 2005 at 3:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hitler’s sketches on auction in Montreal

Canadian auctioneer Iégor de Saint Hippolyte is putting up for sale four architectural sketches and two greeting cards signed by Adolf Hitler on July 19 and 20 auctions, which will take place in Montreal. The Canadian Jewish Congress is protesting the Montreal sale.

The four drawings presented at the auction were made in charcoal, pencil and watercolour. One of them includes Hilter’s corrections in red pencil on sketches of the opera house in his hometown of Linz, Austria, designed by his architecture minister Albert Speer. The greeting cards date from New Year’s Day 1935 and Christmas 1938.

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Published in: on July 12, 2005 at 6:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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«Surrealism USA»

O. Louis Guglielmi. Mental Geography. 1938. Oil on masonite

«Surrealism USA» exhibition, organized by the National Academy Museum will be at the Phoenix Art Museum through September 25. Some 120 paintings, works on paper and sculptures created in the United States between 1930 and 1950 are displayed there. It is the first exhibition devoted to American Surrealism in a quarter century.

The event features works created by influential European emigrants in the United States during this period – Salvador Dali, Roberto Matta Echaurren, Max Ernst, Andre Masson and Yves Tanguy. Among the prominent Americans represented are Joseph Cornell, Ivan Albright, Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi, Arshile Gorky, and David Smith. Works by Louise Bourgeois, Jackson Pollock, Man Ray, Kay Sage, Dorothea Tanning and John Wilde suggest links to contemporary artists.

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Published in: on June 16, 2005 at 6:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Eva Zeisel Survived Stalin's Prison to Give Ceramics a Lasting New Form

Eva Zeisel has always been more than a grande dame of design.

At 96, the Hungarian-born designer is justly revered for enlivening the 20th century with elegant, expressive modern ceramics. But her life story has also inspired awe. In the 1930s, while a rising star in Soviet Russia, she was arrested and charged with planning the assassination of Joseph Stalin. Why her life didn’t end there and then remains a mystery. But Zeisel survived to sail into New York harbor in 1938, and she began life anew.

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