"Kunst durch Kredit" – on the short article "Berliner Blamage" in DER SPIEGEL, issue 45/2017

News from 11/07/2017

The subject of Kunst durch Kredit [Art as collateral ] (De Gruyter, 2017) is the purchase of some 4,400 works of art from the holdings of the Dresdner Bank by the government of Prussia on behalf of the Berlin museums in 1935. The book's author, Lynn Rother, examines this deal in the context of art history and banking. In connection with this, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz – SPK (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) would like to draw attention to the following facts.

The SPK, whose collections still contain many works from the 1935 deal, suggested the bulk purchase of these works to Ms. Rother as a possible subject for her doctoral dissertation. It concluded an agreement to this effect with Ms. Rother in January 2010 and supported her work for several years. It was clear at the time that the historical acquisition of such a large and complex bundle of items might involve works that had been expropriated owing to persecution. On the basis of the recently published dissertation, which has provided the necessary contextual research, the SPK can now undertake further systematic investigation of the provenance of individual works. 

With regard to the provenance of the painting "Pariser Platz in Berlin / Brandenburger Tor", the SPK has been conducting research of its own for several years together with the Commission for Looted Art, which repre-sents the heirs of Annie Caspari. The parties concerned are of the opinion that the complicated historical circumstances still require further investiga-tion. The SPK and the representatives of the heirs have agreed to main-tain confidentiality regarding the research and any related discussions.

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