Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Lehmbruck Museum restitutes Nolde painting - Foundation funded the research work

Date 2017.07.11

The Wil­helm Lehm­bruck Mu­se­um Foun­da­tion in Duis­burg has re­turned Emil Nolde’s paint­ing “Frauen im Blu­men­garten” (Wom­en in a Flow­er Gar­den) to the heirs of its for­mer own­ers. The resti­tu­tion is the re­sult of a six-month re­search project fund­ed by the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion in Magde­burg.

A num­ber of resti­tu­tion claims re­lat­ing to the paint­ing had been made over many years. The Mu­se­um Foun­da­tion’s Board of Trustees there­fore de­cid­ed to ap­ply to the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion for fund­ing for the nec­es­sary prove­nance re­search. The aim was to con­firm the iden­ti­ty of the paint­ing and in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances of its sale as a re­sult of Nazi per­se­cu­tion. The re­search un­equiv­o­cal­ly con­clud­ed that the paint­ing was Nazi-con­fis­cat­ed prop­er­ty. As a re­sult, the Board of Trustees of the Wil­helm Lehm­bruck Mu­se­um Foun­da­tion de­cid­ed to re­turn the art­work to the right­ful heirs.

Jew­ish art col­lec­tor Ed­uard Müller was mur­dered in Auschwitz con­cen­tra­tion camp in ear­ly 1942. Short­ly af­ter­wards, his wife Ri­ta Müller made an at­tempt to flee the coun­try, which she fi­nanced by sell­ing Nolde’s paint­ing, among oth­er items. But she too, suf­fered the same fate as her hus­band. Their son had man­aged to em­i­grate from Prague in 1938. The paint­ing was then ac­quired on the art mar­ket by the City of Duis­burg in 1958 for DM 40,000 with sup­port from Woh­nungs­bau AG. The great-grand­chil­dren of Ed­uard and Ri­ta Müller have now re­ceived the paint­ing back.

Press re­lease by the Wil­helm Lehm­bruck Mu­se­um Foun­da­tion (on­ly Ger­man ver­sion)

Emil Nolde, „Frauen im Blumengarten“, 1916 Emil Nolde, „Frauen im Blumengarten“, 1916 Emil Nolde, „Frauen im Blumengarten“, 1916 Source:  Nolde Stiftung Seebüll, Foto: Britta Lauer