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August 18, 2021 1:15 pm

New York’s Jewish Museum Unveils Exhibit Featuring Nazi-Looted Art by Picasso, Chagall, Matisse

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Included in the “Afterlives” exhibition is Franz Marc’s ‘The Large Blue Horses’ 1911. Photo: The Jewish Museum

An exhibition opening Friday at The Jewish Museum in New York City will showcase 53 works of art that were stolen from Jewish art collections by Nazi forces before and during World War II.

The paintings and drawings that will be on display in the exhibit — titled “Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art” — include works by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Franz Marc, Paul Cézanne, Pierre Bonnard, Gustave Courbet and Paul Klee. The exhibit also includes items stolen from French Jewish art collector and philanthropist David David-Weill, who had more than 2,000 artworks seized by the Nazis.

Two famous Matisse works included in the show, “Daisies” and “Girl in Yellow and Blue with Guitar,” are from 1939, and once belonged to French Jewish gallerist Paul Rosenberg. They were stolen from a bank vault in Bordeaux, France, where Rosenberg had stored them for safekeeping before he fled to the US. The latter artwork remained in Nazi commander Hermann Goering’s personal collection of looted art until the end of the war, when it was recovered by Allies forces and returned to Rosenberg.

After the war, an estimated one million stolen artworks and 2.5 million stolen books were recovered, while many more were destroyed, according to the museum. The exhibition “chronicles the layered stories of the objects that survived, exploring the circumstances of their theft, their post-war rescue, and their afterlives in museums and private collections … [It] follows the paths taken by works of art across national borders, through military depots, and in and out of networks of collectors, looters, ideologues, and restitution organizations.”

“Afterlives” additionally features 80 Jewish ceremonial objects, such as candelabrums and a Passover seder plate — many from destroyed and looted synagogues.
The show will run from Friday until Jan. 9, 2022.

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