Salvator Mundi, Latin for Saviour of the World, is a subject in iconography depicting Christ with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand holding an orb surmounted by a cross, known as a globus cruciger, symbolizing the Earth.
Salvator Mundi by Andrea Previtali
by Carlo Crivelli
by Antonello da Messina
by Giovanni Belini
Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” (below) will go on auction on November 15 and is reportedly the last painting by the Renaissance artist in private hands. It is one of fewer than 20 paintings by Leonardo.
In 2009 the Museum Kunst der Westküste, a small, fine house that has been presenting German and North-West European art from 1830 to 1930 in changing exhibitions, was opened in Alkersum, a community on the North Frisian island of Föhr. On the museum’s website, you can watch a nine-minute film showing a virtual tour of the opening show eight years ago: hundreds of works including paintings by Edvard Munch, Max Beckmann, Emil Nolde and Max Liebermann.
After two and a half minutes the camera swings around an intermediate wall and shows a small painting in a gold frame. For two seconds only where you can see a woman hanging on a meadow pink and lilac-colored clothes on a leash. The breeze winds the colorful fabrics, hair and dress of the woman flutter. The picture is called “Wäsche trocknen – Bleiche“; Max Liebermann painted it in 1890.
9000 kilometers west from the small Frisian island of Föhr, Mitchell Ostwald almost stopped his heart when, a few days ago, he watched the film from the museum on his computer. He pressed the pause button at minute 2:30 and stared disbelievingly at the screen for minutes. “Then I realized: we finally found it,” he says. “Our painting.”
The Liebermann picture belonged to the Jewish art collector Moritz Ury, the great-grandfather of Mitchell Ostwald. Together with his wife Selma, Ury had to flee from Nazi Germany to Switzerland in 1937. He was not allowed to take his art collection, the Gestapo confiscated the works and auctioned it in 1941.
Among the sold works of art was also the Liebermann painting, whose track was lost after the auction. It was only in 2005 that it suddenly appeared in public, again at an auction. The Münchner Auktionshaus Hampel offered the work for an estimate of 225,000 euros. The former owner of the Hertie department store chain and art collector Hans-Georg Karg, who had died in 2003, had acquired the Liebermann painting in the 1980s. Whether he knew at the time that it was a Nazi robbery we don’t know. When the controversial provenance of the painting became known in the same year, the Liebermann painting was withdrawn from the auction. The picture disappeared again.
The painting was seen the picture in the museum on Föhr a few years ago, she wrote, and the film on the museum’s website then removed all doubts.
Museum director Ulrike Wolff-Thomsen now confirms on request that the picture was a private loan that was not owned by the museum. Whoever had lent it to the museum at the time, she does not want to say. “However, the private owner, who has acquired the Liebermann painting was informed about the facts you have described and is already working with his legal representative in a fair and fair procedure,” Ulrike Wolff-Thomsen said.
Although Mitchell Ostwald has not received any news from the current owner of the picture, the announcement by the museum owner gives him hope. “I am very happy that after all the years of silence, there is finally a trace to the painting,” says Ostwald. “Now I’m looking forward to finding a just solution with the owner.”
More about Max Liebermann HERE.
Original article in German HERE.
. I apologize if you find some errors in the translation. My English will never be perfect.
Bartholomeus van der Helst, “Portrait of a Man” (1647).
A 17th-century Dutch old master painting stolen by the Nazis is to be auctioned in Vienna next week, provoking outrage from the heirs of the owners from whom it was looted who have accused the auction house of moral bankruptcy.
“Portrait of a Man” was one of hundreds of works looted in 1943 from the Schloss family, whose huge collection of Flemish and Dutch old masters was amassed by Adolphe Schloss, a Jewish-German industrialist who lived in France.
Read full article HERE.
A “Jeune femme en buste” dated 1900 and painted by Renoir has a minimalist provenance as it awaits sale in March 2017 through Bonhams.
The only listed owner is a Private collection in Southern Germany, which might include Bavaria.
For a French impressionist painting to end up in Southern Germany, there are many possible pathways.
Once again, this is a clarion call for clarity because history has a terrible habit of interfering with the ownership trail of works of art, especially during periods of intense civil strife and military conflict.
In the case of this painting, two world wars and a genocide occurred before the dust settled in 1945.
Wouldn’t it be appropriate to understand a bit more about this work’s history?
Last but not least, don’t authenticators and authors of catalogues raisonnes bear some responsibility in attesting to the accuracy of a provenance or are they just concerned about authenticity and nothing else? That would be convenient because authenticity issues do not necessarily imply full understanding of a work of art’s history. If that is in fact how authors of catalogues raisonnes and authenticators operate, we are really in trouble and their work products should be called into question.
Source: Holocaust Art Restitution Project.
When you sell your home the paperwork details the sale, including your name, and the title search lists the names of the people who owned the property before you. But when someone sells an artwork at auction — even something worth $100 million, much more than your house — the identity is typically concealed.
Oh, the paperwork might identify the work as coming from “a European collection.” But the buyer usually has no clue with whom he or she is really dealing. Sometimes, surprisingly, even the auction house may not know who the seller is.
Secrecy has long been central to the art world. Anonymity protects privacy, adds mystique and cuts the taint of crass commerce from such transactions.
Read full article HERE.
Behind the heady gavel price was a hard business reality: even as the crowd sipped champagne that evening, Sotheby’s was still frantically wooing a buyer. In the end, the grand old auction house had to pay for the privilege of selling the masterpiece.
View full article HERE.