Art resti­tu­tion cases to rocket

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY RACHEL LASSER­SON

THE NUM­BER of art­works claimed suc­cess­fully gen­er­a­tions af­ter they were looted by the Nazis is due to rise sharply, ac­cord­ing to a JC in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A com­bi­na­tion of re­cent fac­tors, from City bonuses push­ing up auc­tion-house prices to court rul­ings, has cre­ated a “per­fect storm” that is en­cour­ag­ing heirs and their lawyers to bring claims. The fi­nan­cial re­turns from resti­tuted art­works — such as the Klimt paint­ing, above, sold for $135 mil­lion af­ter be­ing re­turned to its Jewish owner — has spawned a gen­er­a­tion of art de­tec­tives and lawyers whose busi­ness it is to track down th­ese works. Sources in­volved in the re­cov­ery of Nazi-looted art have told the JC that lawyers in Ger­many have started to work on cases un­der their own ini­tia­tive be­fore ap­proach­ing fam­i­lies, hop­ing to win their busi­ness.

Rul­ings in US courts have also en­cour­aged claimants to lodge law­suits there against for­eign gov­ern­ments in their quest for jus­tice. In­ter­net data­bases, too, are help­ing claimants lo­cate works.

Mark Stephens, an art lawyer at Fin­ers Stephens In­no­cent in Lon­don, said: “Now claims are dou­bling year on year with con­comi­tant lev­els of resti­tu­tion. We are look­ing at large amounts of com­pen­sa­tion. Ev­ery year we are go­ing to see big­ger cases as gov­ern­ments for­malise their po­si­tions on this is­sue and put their na­tional col­lec­tions in or­der.”

Por­trait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, by Gus­tav Klimt, re­turned to Maria Alt­mann, 92

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.