Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Settling the Estate

After a week of rumor and speculation, the National Gallery of Art in Washington confirmed that it was the buyer of “Bagpipe Player in Profile,” below, a 1624 painting by the Dutch master Hendrick ter Brugghen. Johnny Van Haeften, the London dealer, purchased the painting at Sotheby’s New York sale on Jan. 29 for $10.2 million, a record price for the artist at auction. The National Gallery purchased the work from Mr. Van Haeften. “Bagpipe Player in Profile” was recently returned to the heirs of Herbert von Klemperer, a German industrialist who was forced to surrender it in 1938.

Two valuable Picasso paintings will stay in New York after the heirs of their former owner reached an out-of-court settlement with the museums which are in possession of the pictures. The heirs of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy have reached a compromise with the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum. Apparently the Berlin-based banker was forced by the Nazis to sell the works in 1930s, a claim the museums have denied. The paintings are estimated to be worth 20 million each.

The heirs of a Jewish banker requested the return of a portrait by Oskar Kokoschka currently hanging in a museum in Ghent, Belgium, that they say their grandfather was forced to sell by the Nazis. Kokoschka is considered one of the three great Viennese painters of his time. A Kokoschka portrait sold for 2 million dollars in 1990.

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- A Berlin court ordered the Deutsches Historisches Museum to return a poster looted by the Gestapo to Peter Sachs, the son of a dentist who was forced to flee Germany before World War II, paving the way for Sachs to claim about 4,250 posters from his father’s collection. Hans Sachs was an industrious collector, beginning in his school days. He published a poster magazine called “Das Plakat,” founded a society, held exhibitions and gave lectures. His collection, which included works by Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, Ludwig Hohlwein, Lucian Bernhard and Jules Cheret, contained 12,500 posters and was at the time the biggest in the world.

Spiegel Picasso
NY TimesBagpipe Player in Profile

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