SAN FRANCISCO, June 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A significant landscape painting by 19th Century artist Karl Blechen has been repurchased by the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe museum in Germany from the Rudolf Mosse Foundation following restitution.
The painting Blick auf das Kloster Sta. Scolastica bei Subiaco (1832) had hung in the museum since 1969 and was considered one of the main works of the 19th Century collection. From 1898 to 1934, in belonged to the prestigious collection of Berlin based publisher Rudolf Mosse and his heirs. In 2014, the painting was identified as being liable for restitution, as its owners had been deprived of it by the National Socialists. It was among the artworks recovered by the Mosse Art Restitution Project, an investigation and recovery effort run by the Investigative Unit of San Francisco law firm Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller.
Rudolf Mosse was widely regarded as the liberal-progressive voice in late 19th Century Germany, having successfully established an extensive media empire. Its flagship, the Berlin Tageblatt, was among the most popular German newspapers in foreign countries. In addition, Rudolf Mosse supported numerous welfare projects and acted as a major patron of the arts – a dedication from which the Staatliche Museen in Berlin still benefits today.
During the 1880s and 1890s, he established and built his prestigious art collection, housing it in his residency and periodically opening it to the public.
Toward the end of the Weimar Republic, the Mosse publishing house experienced the same economic stresses that were felt worldwide. Under the leadership of Hans Lachmann-Mosse, Rudolf Mosse's son-in-law, the company filed for bankruptcy in Germany. The political orientation of the Berliner Tageblatt, which explicitly turned against the anti-democratic mind of the German Rightists and the associated growing political uncertainty, was believed to be behind the move, as the company remained alive and well outside Germany and continued to pay salaries and pensions.
The National Socialists seized control of the bankruptcy proceedings and shortly after the Nazis took power, Hans Lachmann-Mosse and his wife Felicia fell prey to persecution. They were raided by SA-troops and forced under threat of violence to turn their assets into a foundation and surrender the company's lead on the affiliated management board. After this, the couple had to leave Germany. All assets – publishing house, land plots, real estate – were expropriated. On May 29, 1934, part of the Mosse Family art collection was auctioned at the auction house of Rudolf Lepke in Berlin. The proceeds were never transferred to the Mosse family.
The previous ownership of the painting was brought to the attention of Kunsthalle by the Mosse Art Restitution Project, undertaken by the investigations unit of Bartko Zankel Bunzel at the behest of the Mosse Foundation. Subsequent provenance research confirmed Mosse's ownership of the painting and its expropriation. The painting was then restituted and allowed to remain on loan to the museum.
As the landscape painting occupies an outstanding position in the Kunsthalle, the museum had a strong interest in repurchasing it. After intensive talks with representatives of the heirs and their lawyers, the Ministry for Science, Research and Arts, the Cultural Foundation of the Federal States as well as private patrons, repurchase was made possible.
The purchase was enabled by a large donation (Fontana-Foundation), by funds from the Museum Foundation of the State of Baden-Wurttemberg and the Cultural Foundation of the Federal States, and donations by the Sponsoring Society of Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe chaired by Dr. Marlene Angermeyer-Deubner. At the request of the sellers, the parties agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
Law Firm of Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller
J. Eric Bartko
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SOURCE Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller