Restitution: Settlement on Emil Nolde Work in
The Web magazines ArtKnowledgeNews, ArtDaily.org and other media report that the dispute over ownership of a flower painting by German expressionist Emil Nolde, was been settled in Sweden where the Moderna Museet of Stokholm has agreed to return to Blumengarten (Utenwarf) (Flower Garden (Utenwarf)) to the heirs of Otto Nathan Deutsch, a German Jew who escaped to the Netherlands in the late 1930s.
The painting was stolen by the Nazis 70 years ago from the Deutsch collection, and in 1967 surfaced and was sold to Moderna Museet. Negotiations between the art museum and the heirs - two of whom themselves are Holocaust survivors - began in 2002. The work has now been sold on behalf of the heirs to an unidentified private collector who has agreed to loan it to the Moderna Museet for five years, and then will loan a series of other, undisclosed painting for another five years.
No media reports that I have read have commented on the irony of this situation - that Nolde in his lifetime was known for his expressions of anti-Semitism, or at least of his dislike of leading Jewish luminaries in Berlin and European art world. He had special dislike for Max Lieberman, leader of the Berlin Secession, and Paul Cassirer leading modern art dealer and arbiter of modern taste.
The ownership dispute was settled under the principles of the 1998 Washington Conference Principles, guidelines adopted by 44 countries that outline, among other things, procedures for dealing with art restitution claims. In June, the Jewish Claims Conference, listed
The Deutsch heirs continue to search for other artworks which were lost during the Nazi period. A list can be found at the German Government website www.lostart.de.