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Ethics of Buying Art Stolen by the Nazis

YYW
Posts: 44,679
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4/24/2017 3:51:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
https://www.theguardian.com...

This is not a new story. Purchaser of art stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazis during or prior to WWII, purchased the piece of art at issue from a dealer in good faith and in compliance with present day German law, now faces along with auction house acute criticism from Jewish activists for attempt to sell art at issue.

There is nothing illegal about selling stolen Nazi art that was purchased in good faith and in compliance with then-governing law of most jurisdictions. The ethics are more precarious, though.

These are the facts:

In 2004, a German art dealer sold a painting painted by Bartholomeus van der Helst, and called "Portrait of a Man" to a buyer. The buyer bought the painting without knowing that the painting was stolen by the Nazis from Adolphe Scholss, who was a Jewish German industrialist that lived in France during WWII.

Hitler wanted this piece in particular for a museum he was planning to build in Linz, Austria. When the Third Reich fell, Allied forces seized the painting along with thousands of others and other priceless artifacts of both great economic and cultural value. The process, however, was chaotic. The painting was again stolen from the Allies in the post-war period.

Now, the Schloss heirs want the painting back. Neither Schloss nor the Schloss heirs were ever compensated for the loss of this particular painting. They argue that a legal regime in which the painting remains an item that can be bought and sold is patently immoral, because it allows property stolen by the Nazis to be bought and sold to this day.

The painting, were it to be discovered outside of Austria or Germany, would likely be seized by whatever government whose ports it entered at customs. So, the painting will never be able to leave Germany or Austria, most likely. The painting is worth between 15k and 30k euros.

The Schloss family was illegally divested of more than 300 paintings by the Nazis, over 160 of which have since been restored to them since the fall of the Third Reich.

The painting at issue here has been known by international authorities to have been stolen by the Nazis from the Schloss family for decades, which casts a lot of doubt on the proposition that the 2004 buyer in Germany actually purchased the item in good faith because any purchase of that kind would have been made without due diligence on the part of the buyer.

(Basically, if you buy art of that age in Europe, you're on notice of the risk that such art was illegally stolen by the Nazis, so you have to make sure that you're not buying stolen art.)

Should the painting be restored to the Schloss family? Why, or why not?

If the painting should be restored to the Schloss family, should the 2004 buyer have to bear the economic costs of the painting's loss, if the painting is restored to the Schloss family? If not, then who should compensate the 2004 buyer and to what degree should the 2004 buyer be compensated?
Swagnarok
Posts: 2,020
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4/24/2017 5:29:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/24/2017 3:51:29 PM, YYW wrote:
https://www.theguardian.com...

This is not a new story. Purchaser of art stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazis during or prior to WWII, purchased the piece of art at issue from a dealer in good faith and in compliance with present day German law, now faces along with auction house acute criticism from Jewish activists for attempt to sell art at issue.

There is nothing illegal about selling stolen Nazi art that was purchased in good faith and in compliance with then-governing law of most jurisdictions. The ethics are more precarious, though.

These are the facts:

In 2004, a German art dealer sold a painting painted by Bartholomeus van der Helst, and called "Portrait of a Man" to a buyer. The buyer bought the painting without knowing that the painting was stolen by the Nazis from Adolphe Scholss, who was a Jewish German industrialist that lived in France during WWII.

Hitler wanted this piece in particular for a museum he was planning to build in Linz, Austria. When the Third Reich fell, Allied forces seized the painting along with thousands of others and other priceless artifacts of both great economic and cultural value. The process, however, was chaotic. The painting was again stolen from the Allies in the post-war period.

Now, the Schloss heirs want the painting back. Neither Schloss nor the Schloss heirs were ever compensated for the loss of this particular painting. They argue that a legal regime in which the painting remains an item that can be bought and sold is patently immoral, because it allows property stolen by the Nazis to be bought and sold to this day.

The painting, were it to be discovered outside of Austria or Germany, would likely be seized by whatever government whose ports it entered at customs. So, the painting will never be able to leave Germany or Austria, most likely. The painting is worth between 15k and 30k euros.

The Schloss family was illegally divested of more than 300 paintings by the Nazis, over 160 of which have since been restored to them since the fall of the Third Reich.

The painting at issue here has been known by international authorities to have been stolen by the Nazis from the Schloss family for decades, which casts a lot of doubt on the proposition that the 2004 buyer in Germany actually purchased the item in good faith because any purchase of that kind would have been made without due diligence on the part of the buyer.

(Basically, if you buy art of that age in Europe, you're on notice of the risk that such art was illegally stolen by the Nazis, so you have to make sure that you're not buying stolen art.)

Should the painting be restored to the Schloss family? Why, or why not?

If the painting should be restored to the Schloss family, should the 2004 buyer have to bear the economic costs of the painting's loss, if the painting is restored to the Schloss family? If not, then who should compensate the 2004 buyer and to what degree should the 2004 buyer be compensated?

The painting should be restored to the Schloss family and the 2004 buyer should be compensated by the German government for the full cost of the purchase.
Rest in Peace DDO (2007-2018)
Emilrose
Posts: 6,201
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4/24/2017 6:58:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/24/2017 3:51:29 PM, YYW wrote:
https://www.theguardian.com...

This is not a new story. Purchaser of art stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazis during or prior to WWII, purchased the piece of art at issue from a dealer in good faith and in compliance with present day German law, now faces along with auction house acute criticism from Jewish activists for attempt to sell art at issue.

There is nothing illegal about selling stolen Nazi art that was purchased in good faith and in compliance with then-governing law of most jurisdictions. The ethics are more precarious, though.

These are the facts:

In 2004, a German art dealer sold a painting painted by Bartholomeus van der Helst, and called "Portrait of a Man" to a buyer. The buyer bought the painting without knowing that the painting was stolen by the Nazis from Adolphe Scholss, who was a Jewish German industrialist that lived in France during WWII.

He died way before that...in 1910.

Hitler wanted this piece in particular for a museum he was planning to build in Linz, Austria. When the Third Reich fell, Allied forces seized the painting along with thousands of others and other priceless artifacts of both great economic and cultural value. The process, however, was chaotic. The painting was again stolen from the Allies in the post-war period.

Now, the Schloss heirs want the painting back. Neither Schloss nor the Schloss heirs were ever compensated for the loss of this particular painting. They argue that a legal regime in which the painting remains an item that can be bought and sold is patently immoral, because it allows property stolen by the Nazis to be bought and sold to this day.

The painting, were it to be discovered outside of Austria or Germany, would likely be seized by whatever government whose ports it entered at customs. So, the painting will never be able to leave Germany or Austria, most likely. The painting is worth between 15k and 30k euros.

The Schloss family was illegally divested of more than 300 paintings by the Nazis, over 160 of which have since been restored to them since the fall of the Third Reich.

The painting at issue here has been known by international authorities to have been stolen by the Nazis from the Schloss family for decades, which casts a lot of doubt on the proposition that the 2004 buyer in Germany actually purchased the item in good faith because any purchase of that kind would have been made without due diligence on the part of the buyer.

(Basically, if you buy art of that age in Europe, you're on notice of the risk that such art was illegally stolen by the Nazis, so you have to make sure that you're not buying stolen art.)

Should the painting be restored to the Schloss family? Why, or why not?

If the painting should be restored to the Schloss family, should the 2004 buyer have to bear the economic costs of the painting's loss, if the painting is restored to the Schloss family? If not, then who should compensate the 2004 buyer and to what degree should the 2004 buyer be compensated?
YYW
Posts: 44,679
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4/24/2017 6:59:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/24/2017 6:58:10 PM, Emilrose wrote:
At 4/24/2017 3:51:29 PM, YYW wrote:
https://www.theguardian.com...

This is not a new story. Purchaser of art stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazis during or prior to WWII, purchased the piece of art at issue from a dealer in good faith and in compliance with present day German law, now faces along with auction house acute criticism from Jewish activists for attempt to sell art at issue.

There is nothing illegal about selling stolen Nazi art that was purchased in good faith and in compliance with then-governing law of most jurisdictions. The ethics are more precarious, though.

These are the facts:

In 2004, a German art dealer sold a painting painted by Bartholomeus van der Helst, and called "Portrait of a Man" to a buyer. The buyer bought the painting without knowing that the painting was stolen by the Nazis from Adolphe Scholss, who was a Jewish German industrialist that lived in France during WWII.

He died way before that...in 1910.

It was his art collection. What's your point?

Hitler wanted this piece in particular for a museum he was planning to build in Linz, Austria. When the Third Reich fell, Allied forces seized the painting along with thousands of others and other priceless artifacts of both great economic and cultural value. The process, however, was chaotic. The painting was again stolen from the Allies in the post-war period.

Now, the Schloss heirs want the painting back. Neither Schloss nor the Schloss heirs were ever compensated for the loss of this particular painting. They argue that a legal regime in which the painting remains an item that can be bought and sold is patently immoral, because it allows property stolen by the Nazis to be bought and sold to this day.

The painting, were it to be discovered outside of Austria or Germany, would likely be seized by whatever government whose ports it entered at customs. So, the painting will never be able to leave Germany or Austria, most likely. The painting is worth between 15k and 30k euros.

The Schloss family was illegally divested of more than 300 paintings by the Nazis, over 160 of which have since been restored to them since the fall of the Third Reich.

The painting at issue here has been known by international authorities to have been stolen by the Nazis from the Schloss family for decades, which casts a lot of doubt on the proposition that the 2004 buyer in Germany actually purchased the item in good faith because any purchase of that kind would have been made without due diligence on the part of the buyer.

(Basically, if you buy art of that age in Europe, you're on notice of the risk that such art was illegally stolen by the Nazis, so you have to make sure that you're not buying stolen art.)

Should the painting be restored to the Schloss family? Why, or why not?

If the painting should be restored to the Schloss family, should the 2004 buyer have to bear the economic costs of the painting's loss, if the painting is restored to the Schloss family? If not, then who should compensate the 2004 buyer and to what degree should the 2004 buyer be compensated?
Emilrose
Posts: 6,201
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4/25/2017 12:27:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/24/2017 6:59:55 PM, YYW wrote:
At 4/24/2017 6:58:10 PM, Emilrose wrote:
At 4/24/2017 3:51:29 PM, YYW wrote:
https://www.theguardian.com...

This is not a new story. Purchaser of art stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazis during or prior to WWII, purchased the piece of art at issue from a dealer in good faith and in compliance with present day German law, now faces along with auction house acute criticism from Jewish activists for attempt to sell art at issue.

There is nothing illegal about selling stolen Nazi art that was purchased in good faith and in compliance with then-governing law of most jurisdictions. The ethics are more precarious, though.

These are the facts:

In 2004, a German art dealer sold a painting painted by Bartholomeus van der Helst, and called "Portrait of a Man" to a buyer. The buyer bought the painting without knowing that the painting was stolen by the Nazis from Adolphe Scholss, who was a Jewish German industrialist that lived in France during WWII.

He died way before that...in 1910.

It was his art collection. What's your point?

Just that he wasn't alive then; luckily he missed it.

Hitler wanted this piece in particular for a museum he was planning to build in Linz, Austria. When the Third Reich fell, Allied forces seized the painting along with thousands of others and other priceless artifacts of both great economic and cultural value. The process, however, was chaotic. The painting was again stolen from the Allies in the post-war period.

Now, the Schloss heirs want the painting back. Neither Schloss nor the Schloss heirs were ever compensated for the loss of this particular painting. They argue that a legal regime in which the painting remains an item that can be bought and sold is patently immoral, because it allows property stolen by the Nazis to be bought and sold to this day.

The painting, were it to be discovered outside of Austria or Germany, would likely be seized by whatever government whose ports it entered at customs. So, the painting will never be able to leave Germany or Austria, most likely. The painting is worth between 15k and 30k euros.

The Schloss family was illegally divested of more than 300 paintings by the Nazis, over 160 of which have since been restored to them since the fall of the Third Reich.

The painting at issue here has been known by international authorities to have been stolen by the Nazis from the Schloss family for decades, which casts a lot of doubt on the proposition that the 2004 buyer in Germany actually purchased the item in good faith because any purchase of that kind would have been made without due diligence on the part of the buyer.

(Basically, if you buy art of that age in Europe, you're on notice of the risk that such art was illegally stolen by the Nazis, so you have to make sure that you're not buying stolen art.)

Should the painting be restored to the Schloss family? Why, or why not?

If the painting should be restored to the Schloss family, should the 2004 buyer have to bear the economic costs of the painting's loss, if the painting is restored to the Schloss family? If not, then who should compensate the 2004 buyer and to what degree should the 2004 buyer be compensated?

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