German Museum Discovers It Has Been Displaying Nazi-looted Artworks in Its Collection

Kunsthalle Mannheim's probe into collection reveals that at least 25 artworks the museum showcases may have been looted or obtained under duress by the Nazis

The painting "The Persian" by Oskar Kokoschka is on display at the Bundeskunsthalle museum. The exhibition presents some 250 art works from the 1,500-piece collection of collector Cornelius Gurlitt, including some likely looted from Jewish owners.
Oliver Berg,AP

A German museum in the city of Mannheim announced on Tuesday that it had found Nazi-looted art within its collection of 2,253 works.

The investigation, conducted by art historian Mathias Listl, revealed that one work- Wilhelm Leibl's "The Drinker" from 1874 - was acquired from a Nazi agency that dealt art abandoned in Rotterdam and Antwerp by Jewish refugees or deportees.

Twenty-five other artworks are suspected to have been looted or obtained under duress by the Nazis, although their status has yet to be determined. They were acquired by the museum between 1933 and 1945 from art dealers known to have benefited from Nazi art looting.

The investigation, launched by the Kunsthalle Mannheim in 2011, aims to determine the origin of all artworks created before 1945, so that they can be returned to the descendants of their previous owners if it is determined that they were forcefully obtained by the Nazi regime.

The push to determine the provenance of Nazi-looted art begun in 2012, after the discovery of a trove of over 1,500 pieces by notable artists including Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, August Macke, Otto Dix, Emil Nolde and Max Beckmann.

The pieces were discovered in the homes of Cornelius Gurlitt, whose father traded in so-called "degenerate" art on behalf of the Nazi regime.