Art Law Report

Heirs of Nazi-Persecuted Art Dealer Alfred Flechtheim Sue Bavarian Museums

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 6, 2016 at 11:20 AM

Paintings by Beckmann, Gris and Klee Valued at Nearly $20 Million That Once Belonged to Flechtheim Are at Issue in New York Lawsuit

Sullivan & Worcester LLP has filed suit against Bavaria and its state museums in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on behalf of our clients Dr. Michael Hulton and Mrs. Penny Hulton, heirs to the renowned and persecuted Jewish art dealer Alfred Flechtheim.  The Hultons have asked the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to restitute several paintings by Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, and Juan Gris that are now in the possession of the German federal state of Bavaria, Adolf Hitler’s and the Nazi party’s homeland, and its Bavarian State Paintings Collections (known in German as the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, or BSGS).  We are aided in this case by our co-counsel Markus Stoetzel and Mel Urbach, Esq.

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Topics: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Cornelius Gurlitt, Deutschlandradio. Deutsche Presse Agentur, Monuments Men, Nazi-looted art, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Max Beckmann, Markus Stoetzel, Mel Urbach, Paul Klee, FSIA, Gurlitt, NS Raubkunst, Restitution, Bavaria, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, World War II, Alfred Flechteim, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Dr. Michael Hulton, Juan Gris, George Grosz

Time to Go—Flechtheim Heirs Withdraw from Limbach Commission That Has Outlived its Usefulness

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Two days after suspending their participation in the Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property, often called the "Limbach Commission" after its presiding member Jutta Limbach (the Beratende Kommission im Zusammenhang mit der Rückgabe NS-verfolgungsbedingt entzogenen Kulturguts, insbesondere aus jüdischem Besitz), the heirs of Alfred Flechtheim withdrew from the proceedings entirely. The dispute concerns Violon et encrier (Violin and Inkwell) (1913) by Juan Gris in the Stiftung Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Art Collections Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia) in Düsseldorf.

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Topics: Alfred Flechtheim, Nazi-looted art, Advisory Commission, Beratende Kommission, Restitution, Düsseldorf, World War II, Limbach Commission, Dr. Michael Hulton, Juan Gris

Flechtheim Heirs Suspend Limbach Commission Proceedings Over Juan Gris Painting in Düsseldorf

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 24, 2016 at 2:27 PM

In a move that is symbolic of the tattered legitimacy of the German Advisory Commission concerning Nazi-looted art in state museums, the heirs of famed and persecuted Jewish art dealer Alfred Flechtheim today suspended the state-run non-binding mediation process concerning Violon et encrier (Violin and Inkwell) (1913) by Juan Gris in the Stiftung Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen (Art Collections Foundation of Northern Rhineland/Westphalia) in Düsseldorf.  Dr. Michael Hulton of San Francisco, California, Flechtheim’s great-nephew and heir instructed his attorneys to put on hold the Beratende Kommission im Zusammenhang mit der Rückgabe NS-verfolgungsbedingt entzogener Kulturguts, insbesondere aus jüdischem Besitz (Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property, often called the Limbach Commission after its presiding member Jutta Limbach) after disputes about the fairness of the proceedings.  In a letter to Culture Minister Monika Grütters accompanying their press release, Dr. Hulton’s attorneys Markus Stoetzel and Mel Urbach issued a scathing criticism of the proceedings and asked the Advisory Commission not to make any recommendation about the painting in Düsseldorf until a further investigation into the procedural missteps could be completed. 

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Topics: Alfred Flechtheim, Limbach Commission, Dr. Michael Hulton, Juan Gris

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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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