There’s a Book for That: Nazi-Looted Art
Nazi- looted art has been in the news of late. Last week, a 26-year court battle ended in Berlin with a settlement that will reimburse a family for the seizure of a masterpiece by Paul Klee. And two exhibits will open this fall displaying several hundred works from the collection found in the Munich apartment of the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer commissioned by Adolf Hitler to sell works looted from private citizens or seized from museums as “degenerate art” – the term coined by Hitler to describe modernist art that deviated from the traditional forms he liked. With this topic in mind, readers may be interested in the following excellent books:
THE LADY IN GOLD: THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF GUSTAV KLIMT’S MASTERPIECE, PORTRAIT OF ADELE BLOCH-BAUER by Anne-Marie O’Connor
The riveting story of Gustav Klimt’s most famous painting: how it was created, celebrated, seized by Nazis, and ultimately—after a lengthy and influential court case—restored to its rightful owner. Washington Post journalist Anne-Marie O’Connor tells the galvanizing story of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the dazzling Viennese Jewish socialite immortalized in Klimt’s 1907 portrait. This true story was the inspiration for the film “Woman in Gold” starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.
THE PORTRAIT OF DR. GACHET: STORY VAN GOGH’S LAST PORTRAIT, MODERNISM, MONEY, POLITICS, COLLECTORS, GREED AND LOSS by Cynthia Saltzman
At a star-studded auction in 1990, a painting was sold for the record-breaking price of $82.5 million. That painting, Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet, has seemed to countless admirers to portray our times as “something bright in spite of its inevitable griefs.” Masterfully evoked are the lives of the thirteen extraordinary people who owned the painting and shaped its history.
THE RAPE OF EUROPA : THE FATE OF EUROPE’S TREASURES IN THE THIRD REICH AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR by Lynn H. Nicholas
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
The real story behind the major motion picture The Monuments Men. The cast of characters includes Hitler and Goering, Gertrude Stein and Marc Chagall–not to mention works by artists from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso. And the story told in this superbly researched and suspenseful book is that of the Third Reich’s war on European culture and the Allies’ desperate effort to preserve it.
THE LIFE OF OBJECTS by Susanna Moore
In 1938, seventeen-year-old Beatrice, an Irish Protestant lace maker, finds herself at the center of a fairy tale when she is whisked away from her dreary life to join the Berlin household of Felix and Dorothea Metzenburg. Art collectors, and friends to the most fascinating men and women in Europe, the Metzenburgs introduce Beatrice to a world in which she finds more to desire than she ever imagined until Nazi terror begins to threaten their very existence.
“I find this book exhilarating—truly exciting, new, everything good—the people, the clothes, the food: every word.” —Joan Didion
THE CHRYSALIS by Heather Terrell
From the underground Catholicism in seventeenth-century Holland to the unspeakable crimes of the Nazis and the repercussions that reverberate to this day throughout the art world, Heather Terrell has created a fascinating story that will entrance readers to the very last page.
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