Lehmbruck Museum restitutes Nolde painting - Foundation funded the research work
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)