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Swedish museum faces pressure over painting stolen in Nazi Germany

Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden’s most prominent museum of modern and contemporary art, is involved in a dispute centred around an artwork obtained in Nazi Germany. The painting by Oskar Kokoschka originates from a Jewish art dealer and art collector. His heirs now demand that the painting will be returned.

The painting by Oskar Kokoschka is called ”Marquis Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac”. Daniel Birnbaum is the director of Moderna Museet.
The painting by Oskar Kokoschka is called ”Marquis Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac”. Daniel Birnbaum is the director of Moderna Museet. Foto: Bertil Ericson/TT

Many Jewish families lost valuable art collections in 1930's Germany. The Nazi art plunder took many different forms, including extortion, confiscation and forced donations. The looted items would eventually appear at museums and in private collections around the world. In recent decades, extensive efforts have been made to return stolen artworks to their rightful owners.

The painting by Oskar Kokoschka is called ”Marquis Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac”. Daniel Birnbaum is the director of Moderna Museet.

Foto: Bertil Ericson/TT Bild 1 av 4

The Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm.

Foto: Moderna museet Bild 2 av 4

The German-Jewish art dealer and collector Alfred Flechtheim were early on used as an archetype for typical jewish appearance by the Nazis. The German historian Axel Drecoll says to Svenska Dagbladet that his picture even was used on the covers of Nazi propaganda.

Bild 3 av 4

Alfred Flechtheim’s portrait painted by the Bulgarian artist Jules Pascin. It belongs to Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris. Flechtheim fled the Nazis and died alone and broke in London 1937.

Foto: Jules Pascin/Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris Bild 4 av 4
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