Two formerly unknown paintings by German artist Otto Dix found a trove of modern art seized by the Nazis. Photograph: Michael Dalder/REUTERS
An art haul confiscated from a Munich flat includes previously unknown works by Marc Chagall and Otto Dix, and original pieces by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, Bavarian authorities have revealed.
At a press conference in Augsburg, the art historian who has been studying the collection since its discovery gave a first glimpse of the trove, which includes modernist works as well as older pieces dating back as far as the 16th century.
The whereabouts of the 80-year-old owner of the flat, Austrian Cornelius Gurlitt, is not known…
Read the report in the Guardian.
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel is the story of a small band of soldiers tasked to protect and secure the artistic and cultural treasures of Europe during World War II. Today we’d call them the Nerd Squad—the historians, art conservators, museum curators (including the future founder of the New York City Ballet) who saved civilization during some of its darkest hours. Apart from safeguarding art masterpieces in areas of heavy fighting, the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section also foiled Hitler’s plan to build the world’s most fabulous art collection by looting the museums of Europe.
It’s an amazing tale, and a belated tribute to the men and women who risked everything to keep these priceless treasures safe. (Their achievement was not officially recognized till 2007.) The prose is kind of flat, and there’s too much about troop movements and not enough about the art, but this is a military history book. We’re looking forward to the film adaptation by George Clooney starring Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin (and hoping Matt Damon doesn’t morph into a painting).
Speaking of the great Nazi art heist, The Forger’s Spell by Edward Dolnick is the staggering true story of Hans van Meegeren, who painted fake Vermeers and ended up a folk hero. How? Because he sold them to the Nazis. Hah! Dolnick’s book is a thriller that poses many questions about art, not least of which is, How could anyone believe that these are Vermeers?