A Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art
A Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art

A Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art

by Nicholas M. O'Donnell

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Overview

The organized theft of fine art by Nazi Germany has captivated worldwide attention in the last twenty years. As much as any other topic arising out of World War Two, stolen art has proven to be an issue that simply will not go away. Newly found works of art pit survivors and their heirs against museums, foreign nations, and even their own family members. These stories are enduring because they speak to one of the core tragedies of the Nazi era: how a nation at the pinnacle of fine art and culture spawned a legalized culture of theft and plunder. A Tragic Fate is the first book to seriously address the legal and ethical rules that have dictated the results of restitution claims between competing claimants to the same works of art. It provides a history of Art and Culture in German-occupied Europe, an introduction to the most significant collections in Europe to be targeted by the Nazis, and a narrative of the efforts to reclaim looted artwork in the decades following the Holocaust through profiles of some of the art world’s most famous and influential restitution cases.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634257336
Publisher: Ankerwycke
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 864,747
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Author Bio: Nicholas M. O’Donnell (Boston, MA) is one of the art world’s foremost litigators in the restitution of Nazi-looted art. He writes the Art Law Report (www.artlawreport.com) and has been cited widely for his expertise in the New York Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Los Angeles Times, and the Baltimore Sun. He speaks regularly about art law issues around the world.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part 1 Art and culture in Occupied Europe 1

1 From There to Here: Legislated Plunder in the Third Reich and the Allied Response 3

Part 2 The New Era 27

2 The Washington Conference and Its Ethical Parallels 29

3 Portrait of Wally and the Politics of Seizure 59

4 A New Door Opens: Maria Altmann and the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 83

5 Landscape with Smokestacks and Early Trends 90

6 The Max Stern Estate 102

Part 3 Out of Time? 111

7 Bakalar and the Defense of Laches 113

8 California Legislative Amendments and the Legacy of Jacques Goudstikker 122

9 The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Oskar Reichel, and Provenance Research 146

10 Prescriptive Law in Louisiana 163

11 The Nathan Heirs, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Toledo Museum of Art 175

12 The Knives Come Out 187

Part 4 Back and Forth 201

13 Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy 203

14 Leone Meyer and the University of Oklahoma 206

15 Legally Present: A jurisdictional Hook 224

16 The Pissarro of Lily Cassirer 240

17 Hungary and the Herzog Collection 255

18 Commercial Activity or Sovereign Act? 263

Part 5 The Worst System in the North but All the Rest 307

19 Progress or Broken Promises? Restitution Claims Procedures Among the Signatories to the Washington Conference Principles 309

20 A Tragic Fate: Conclusions and Possibilities 345

Acknowledgments 353

Appendix of and Credits for Selected Works at Issue 355

Endnotes 360

Glossary of Names, Terms, and Concepts 374

Bibliography 394

Index 397

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