Hitler's unfathomable legacy as a looter of artistic endeavors | Culture | EUROtoday

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The transport of the works of art to the Altaussee salt mine to protect it from bombing in a photograph from the archive of the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz.
The transport of the artistic endeavors to the Altaussee salt mine to guard it from bombing in {a photograph} from the archive of the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz.Eva Power

Everything is fascinating within the Salzkammergut. In this alpine area the place lovable cities like Hallstatt, previous progress forests, lakes and the Dachstein glacier flourish, the Nazis hid a treasure of just about 10,000 artistic endeavors underground. A complete of 1,428 items got here from crucial nationwide museums in Austria, such because the Belvedere, the Albertina and the Museum of Art History in Vienna, however the majority had been works looted in Europe occupied by the Third Reich with which Hitler deliberate the megalomaniacal Führer Museum in Linz.

The prevalence was the results of necessity. Art needed to be saved from the Allied bombings they usually selected the final bastion of the Nazi resistance within the Alps. They loaded artillery tractor-trailers with works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, Pieter Brueghel the Elder; with sculptures like The Madonna of Bruges, sculpted in marble by Michelangelo, who left Belgium wrapped in mattresses; with The adoration of the Mystical Lamb, a medieval polyptych by Jan van Eyck looted from Ghent Cathedral, and transported throughout the snows of the winter of 1943 to the catacombs of the Altaussee salt mine. The following yr they moved the masterpieces from the Viennese museums to the Lauffen salt mine. Hitler's technique had labored and the pinnacle of Patrimony in Vienna copied the concept. Now the Lentos artwork museum in Linz has managed to gather greater than 80 of those works, together with items by Goya, Titian and Liebermann and artists degenerates like Munch and Corinth, to exhibit them within the exhibition The journey of the work.

The actual place the place they had been hidden within the Altaussee mine, 140 kilometers from Linz, can nonetheless be visited. The situation has not modified something. George Clooney rescued the occasion in Monuments Men, a willful leisure movie with a finances of 70 million euros that appropriates actual occasions in order that History works as in an episode of Team A. The poster for the movie hangs paradoxically on a wall within the Lentos. The true final result is probably too twisted to be credible on movie: the area's Nazi chief, gauleiter y senior group chief of the SS August Eigruber, ordered eight sealed picket containers with the letterhead “Caution / Marble” to be put in subsequent to the vermeer and firm. Inside they housed half a ton of explosives every. They had been nicely camouflaged. Along with the 6,500 work, 130 sculptures, 120 tapestries and 480 drawings, there have been one other 1,700 picket containers with antiquarian books. Their intention was to blow up them contained in the mine if issues bought ugly, which they did.

Some of the paintings that make up the exhibition 'The Journey of the Paintings' in an image provided by the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz,
Some of the work that make up the exhibition 'The Journey of the Paintings' in a picture offered by the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz,Violetta Wakolbinger

The miners had been alarmed. It is not only any deposit. It was the primary supply of wealth for the Habsburgs and in the present day it stays lively as crucial salt mine in Austria, 50 tons of salt are extracted from its bowels each hour. Behind the Connection, the monopoly of this manufacturing was managed from Berlin. The staff sensed that together with the artistic endeavors, the good financial wealth of the area was in peril and, in desperation, they clung to a Nazi burning nail: Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the pinnacle of the Gestapo, who was hiding together with his lover in a close-by villa. Kaltenbrunner intervened to assist him and on the evening of May 4, 1945, the miners eliminated the bombs and hid them within the forest till the arrival of the US Army on May 8. Eigruber was hanged for his accountability within the crimes dedicated in Mauthausen and its satellite tv for pc camps. Kaltenbrunner, too.

The exhibition on the Lentos is a part of an formidable exhibition trilogy linked to the European capital of tradition of Bad Ischl in 2024. The second exhibition is introduced in Bad Aussee and is devoted to the artwork supplier Wolfgang Gurlitt (1888-1965), a unscrupulous speculator throughout Nazism. A grey, chiaroscuro character factors out with paternalism within the exhibition. He traded, trafficked and did enterprise with the Nazis whereas utilizing his Jewish accomplice and concubine Lilly Agoston as a entrance man – and saving his life. The daring technique he discovered to free Agoston from the gasoline chamber was a wedding of comfort with a younger man from Denmark, which allowed them each to have a Danish passport to commerce degenerate artwork in alternate for recent overseas foreign money for the Reich. . Always harassed by collectors and by a hedonistic life-style, his home was purchased by his spouse and his ex-wife together with his personal cash (he lived with the three of them, to the confusion of the household's visits). excessive society). He by no means allowed his daughters to work as a result of, he stated, “a Gurlitt doesn't work.” He was the consultant of Picasso, Liebermann, Schiele, Klimt and Kokoschka. With the latter, an artist persecuted by the Nazis who narrowly escaped the extermination camp, he had a detailed friendship. Gurlitt was the primary to exhibit his work once more in Austria in 1949, nicely supported by items by Klimt, Schiele and Kubin.

The transfer of works to the Altaussee mine in 1943 in a photograph by Eva Kraft.
The switch of works to the Altaussee mine in 1943 in {a photograph} by Eva Kraft. Eva Power

By now Gurlitt was the proprietor of an notorious variety of works that had belonged to Jewish collectors and that got here into his fingers in indecipherable type throughout the Second World War. When his residence and artwork gallery in Berlin had been destroyed in an Allied bombing in November 1943, one of many the reason why he moved from higher Berlin to the provincial Bad Aussee, the place in the present day he stars on this exhibition on the Kammerhofmuseum, was to make a revenue of the Aryanization of Jewish mansions. His assortment is the origin of the Lentos, the capital museum of Linz, which modified its identify in 2003. The authentic was the New Linz City Gallery-Wolfgang Gurlitt Museum. For now, 12 work from Gurlitt's assortment that had been acquired by town of Linz have been returned to his rightful heirs. Among them, the precious portrait of Ria Munk by Klimt, which was exhibited within the museum till 2009.

“A dandy who worked to fill the Führer Museum with works of art,” says Michael John, an professional on artwork looted throughout the Third Reich and who was consulted within the Munk household trial. John is main the reopening of the Bad Ischl metropolis museum, introduced for July, one of many metropolis's star actions as European Capital of Culture. The museum can have a Biedermeier aesthetic identify and façade harking back to filmmaker Wes Anderson's units: Hotel Austria.

The painting 'Jupiter as Satyr', part of the exhibition and which was property of the Third Reich, in a snapshot provided by the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz.
The portray 'Jupiter as Satyr', a part of the exhibition and which was property of the Third Reich, in a snapshot offered by the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz.Rhenish Picture Archive Cologne

Lauffen, on the outskirts of Bad Ischl, was chosen to host the newest exhibition as a result of the second salt mine used as an artwork bunker was positioned right here. “But besides Hitler's art theft, another important aspect is the looting of works of art which is in full swing even today. This is a task that Europe must urgently confront,” says Elisabeth Schweeger, inventive director of the cultural capital of Bad Ischl. With this method, it’s inaugurated The lifetime of issues. Looted – Displaced – Rescuedwhich addresses state-planned artwork theft and expropriations (“Aryanizations”) underneath the German Reich, and examines, guided by the work of 14 modern artists, colonial exploitation within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, plunder in Iraq or cultural destruction in Lebanon.

The three exhibitions devoted to Nazi looted artwork and the Hotel Austria will be visited all through the summer time. They will coincide on the Salzkammergut agenda with conventional proposals such because the Bad Goisern Chamois Hair Plume Olympics.

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