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Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation returns sculpture to heirs of Felicia Lachmann-Mosse

Date 2016.12.02

The Prus­sian Cul­tur­al Her­itage Foun­da­tion (SPK) has re­turned the sculp­ture “Su­san­na” by Rein­hold Be­gas to the heirs of Fe­li­cia Lach­mann-Mosse. It has been iden­ti­fied as Nazi-con­fis­cat­ed prop­er­ty. The sculp­ture will ini­tial­ly re­main on loan to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and is cur­rent­ly on dis­play in the Alte Na­tion­al­ga­lerie.

The Mosse fam­i­ly owned one of the largest and most in­flu­en­tial pub­lish­ing hous­es of the Weimar Re­pub­lic. Im­me­di­ate­ly af­ter the Na­tion­al So­cial­ists took pow­er at the be­gin­ning of 1933, the fam­i­ly were sub­ject­ed to re­pres­sive mea­sures be­cause of their Jew­ish faith. Fe­li­cia Lach­mann-Mosse and her hus­band Hans em­i­grat­ed to the Unit­ed States in 1933. Their as­sets, in­clud­ing the art col­lec­tion which Fe­li­cia had in­her­it­ed from her par­ents Rudolf and Em­i­lie Mosse, were placed un­der state ad­min­is­tra­tion. At the in­sti­ga­tion of the Nazis, the art col­lec­tion was sold at a forced auc­tion in 1934.

It is be­lieved that a So­vi­et Tro­phy Com­mis­sion trans­port­ed the sculp­ture out of Berlin in 1946. It was then re­turned from the So­vi­et Union to the Mu­se­um für Völk­erkunde in Leipzig in 1956 or 1958, and in 1994 placed in the care of the Na­tion­al­ga­lerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. “Su­san­na” and oth­er sculp­tures by Rein­hold Be­gas have been on dis­play in the per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion since the re­open­ing of the Alte Na­tion­al­ga­lerie in 2001. It had not been pos­si­ble to con­clu­sive­ly as­sign the art­work to a pre­vi­ous own­er be­fore now. Re­search car­ried out by the Mosse Art Resti­tu­tion Project has now es­tab­lished that the sculp­ture was part of the Mosse col­lec­tion un­til 1933 and must have been con­fis­cat­ed from the fam­i­ly as a re­sult of per­se­cu­tion.

In 2015, the Prus­sian Cul­tur­al Her­itage Foun­da­tion resti­tut­ed eight works of art to the heirs of Fe­li­cia Lach­mann-Mosse, all of which were iden­ti­fied dur­ing sys­tem­at­ic prove­nance re­search on the col­lec­tions of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

The Mosse Art Resti­tu­tion Project was es­tab­lished by Roger Strauch, the pres­i­dent of the Mosse Foun­da­tion, in 2012. It de­votes it­self to the world­wide search for cul­tur­al as­sets that orig­i­nal­ly be­longed to the Rudolf Mosse col­lec­tion and which were con­fis­cat­ed from his heirs by the Na­tion­al So­cial­ists.

Press re­lease of the Prus­sian Cul­tur­al Her­itage Foun­da­tion (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)