Art Law Report

In the Great Green Room, There was…a Shocking Theft—Historic Robbery in Dresden at State Art Collections

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 25, 2019 at 10:23 PM

While the incomparable Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd does not take place in Dresden, that is where today brought news of a robbery at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the State Art Collections that house the treasures of the Free State of Saxony. Specifically, two thieves broke into the Grünes Gewölbe—the Green Vault—which holds the rarest objects of all. Headlines understandably honed in on monetary values in the hundreds of millions or even billions, but these objects are, in fact, priceless.  It is a horrifying crime against a rich cultural heritage in an historic city.

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Topics: Holy Roman Empire, Dresden, DDR, Gemäldegalerie Dresden, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Theft, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, East Germany, Tashkent, Paris Court of Appeal, Goodnight Moon, Anne Hawley, House of Wettin, Augustus the Strong, Zwinger, Frauenkirche, Rezidenzschloss, Fürstenzug, Gottfried Semper, Grünes Gewölbe, Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd, Residenzschloss, Green Vault, Thomas Crown affair, Bond villain, Marion Ackerman, Michael Kretschmer, Free State of Saxony, Freistaat Sachsen, Electorate of Saxony, Thirty Years War, Schatzkammer, Wittelsbach, GDR

Secret Witness Contradicted Hildebrand Gurlitt’s Claim to Monuments Men that His Art was Burned in Dresden

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 9, 2014 at 6:58 AM

From Dresden to Aschbach to Düsseldorf—New Scholarship in U.S. Archives Traces Hildebrand Gurlitt at War’s End, Could Affect Cornelius Gurlitt’s Claim to Good Faith Ownership

The Main Post has an article today (in German) by Christine Jeske tracing the late-war and post-war trajectory of Hildebrand Gurlitt and his now-infamous collection. The article is fascinating, and sheds considerable light on how the collection came through the war and how Gurlitt evaded greater scrutiny that might have revealed the trove’s whereabouts earlier. It also puts into context any claim Cornelius Gurlitt might now have to argue he took possession of the paintings from his father unaware of their provenance—what will be a critical argument, particularly if yesterday’s Cultural Property Restitution Law proposal by Bavaria becomes federal law in German.

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Topics: Würzburg, Wiesbaden, Cultural Property Restitution Law, veschollene Kunst, Franken, Franconia, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, George Clooney, Erik Berger, Augsburg, Dresden, Nuremberg, Fall Gurlitt, Monuments Men, Gurlitt Collection, Karl Haberstock, Kunstverein, Entartete Kunst, Munich, Heiner Dikreiter, Beutekunst, Freiherr Gerhard von Pölnitz, Bavaria, Kulturgut-Rückgewähr-Gesetz, Nürnberg, Düsseldorf, Schlüsselfeld, Monuments Fine Arts and Archives, Gemäldegalerie Dresden, Christine Jeske, Walter Paech, degenerate art, Städtische Galerie, München, Main Post, Karl and Magdalene Haberstock Foundation, Raubkunst, Verjährung, Nazi Raubkunst, Aschbach

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About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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