In 2012 an investigation into a tax issue by German authorities led then to a Munich apartment where they discovered of a cache of more than 1,200 works of art, some by renowned artists such as Claude Monet, Eduard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pablo Picasso, and some of which is suspected to have been looted by the Nazis in World War II.
Known as the Gurlitt collection, the art, some of which was legally purchased, has been held by a private art dealer and his family since the end of the war and most had been considered lost until authorities raided the dealer’s Munich apartment. Authorities are now attempting to trace some of the artwork back to the families of the rightful owners, and these efforts, as well as the history of the Nazi-era looting will be the topic of discussion at the Carnegie Arts Center’s Sunday Arts Lecture “The ‘Real’ Monument’s Men and Continuing Challenges of Nazi-Looted Art.”
Presented by art historian and author Jonathon Petropoulos, the discussion will focus on these horrific looting events as well as the present-day restitution efforts of governments, museums, and families of Holocaust victims.
As World War II was coming to an end, the United States Army created the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section, a specialized unit more commonly known as the Monuments Men that was tasked with recovering and investigating stolen art by the Nazis.
Widely renowned as the expert in the field, Petropoulos is a professor of European History at Claremont McKenna College, whose areas of expertise include European History, World War II history, and Holocaust Art Theft. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he began working on the subject of Nazi art looting and restitution. Petropoulos is the author of four books, has appeared in more than a dozen documentary films, and has served as an expert witness in a number of cases in which Holocaust victims have tried to recover lost artworks.
The Sunday Arts Lecture is set for 2 p.m. Sunday. The free event is sponsored by California State University, Stanislaus. It has already reached capacity for attendance, but the Carnegie is adding people to their wait list for the lecture. Those wishing to be added to the list can call 632-5761.