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Evening General Meeting – Nazi-looted art
January 17 @ 18:30 - 20:30
We have the honor to welcome speaker Catherine Hickley, journalist and author, at our first general meeting of the year. Catherine is among the world’s leading journalists in the field of Nazi-looted art and has published dozens of articles and a book on the subject.
Catherine will speak to us about the story of Cornelius Gurlitt and her book, The Munich Art Hoard – Hitler’s Dealer and His Secret Legacy. It is an investigation into the incredible trove of art, including works by Monet, Picasso and Chagall, found by German customs officials in the Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt.
“All Cornelius Gurlitt wanted was to live in peace and quiet with his art. But it was not to be: he and his collection captured the world’s imagination and provoked a debate about a Nazi crime that has yet to be redressed”
In a Munich flat belonging to an octogenarian recluse, German customs authorities seized more than 1,400 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures by artists including Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Otto Dix and Paul Klee in February 2012. When Cornelius Gurlitt’s trove became public in November 2013, it caused a worldwide media sensation. For her book “The Munich Art Hoard,” former Bloomberg arts reporter Catherine Hickley delved into archives and conducted dozens of interviews to uncover the story behind the headlines. Her book illuminates a dark period of German history, untangling a web of deceit and silence that has prevented the heirs of Jewish collectors from recovering art stolen from their families more than seven decades ago by the Nazis. At the centre of that web is the art dealer who assembled the collection, Cornelius’s ambitious father Hildebrand Gurlitt. A quarter Jewish, he was a courageous advocate of the modern art Adolf Hitler condemned as “degenerate.” Yet Gurlitt’s anti-Nazi beliefs could not overcome the lure of the money and prestige he was to earn as Hitler’s chief art buyer in occupied Paris. He became a pawn of the regime he professed to hate, even exploiting the plight of fellow Jews to get the pictures and the profits he wanted.Tracing the origins of the Munich hoard takes us from the street-corner battles of Kristallnacht in Breslau, Silesia, to modern-day Madison Avenue in New York; from the charred ruins of postwar Dresden to the cosy prosperity of the Swiss capital Berne in 2014. We witness the shady dealings of the Paris art world in the 1940s and listen in on political debates in modern-day Berlin, as politicians and lawyers puzzle over the inadequacies of a legal framework that to this day falls short in securing justice for the heirs of those robbed by the Nazis.
After the meeting, we’ll enjoy delicious Indonesian food. Dinner is 5 euros for members, 10 euros for guests.
Please RSVP to your Evite, and include whether you will stay for dinner.