Cologne restitutes Menzel drawing – research work funded by the German Lost Art Foundation
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud has reported a success in its provenance research project financed by the German Lost Art Foundation. At its meeting of September 22, 2016, Cologne City Council agreed that the drawing “Blick über die Dächer von Schandau” (View over the Roofs of Schandau) by Adolph von Menzel (1815–1905), held by the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, should be returned to the heirs of Elisabeth Linda Martens. The drawing has been identified as Nazi-confiscated property. This restitution is the result of systematic research work that has been financially supported by the German Lost Art Foundation in Magdeburg since 2013.
“This once again shows how important it is to actively pursue provenance research, trace the heirs of displaced Jewish citizens and jointly seek fair and just solutions in line with the Washington Conference Principles,” said Uwe Hartmann, head of the Provenance Research Department at the German Lost Art Foundation and previous head of the former Bureau for Provenance Research, which was integrated into the Foundation in 2015.
A victim of the National Socialist regime, Elisabeth Linda Martens was forced to sell the drawing in December 1938. She sold the artwork on December 31, 1938, to Hildebrand Gurlitt, presumably to finance her escape and emigration to the US. In 1939, Gurlitt gave the drawing to Galerie Gerstenberger (Chemnitz) on a commission basis, where it was acquired by the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in the same year.