Archive for March, 2011

Heirs’ claim for Hitler’s Vermeer painting is rejected by Austrian panel.

March 30th, 2011

An Austrian panel recently rejected a claim for a Vermeer painting by the heirs of a man who sold it to Adolf  Hitler, saying there was no evidence the sale was forced or that the seller was persecuted. Austria’s art restitution panel threw out the argument by the heirs of Jaromir Czernin that Hitler’s acquisition amounted to a “sale under duress” and should be nullified. The panel instead recommended that Austria keeps the painting. “There is no reason to assume that the sale of  The Art of Painting by Jaromir Czernin to Adolf Hitler was an invalid transaction,” the panel said in a statement on its website.

Read Randol Schoenberg’s arguments in favor of the restitution of Vermeer’s Art of Painting to Helga Conrad, the step-daughter of Jaromir Czernin-Morzin.

March 17th, 2011


Will the Vienna Kunthistorisches lose its Vermeer?

March 16th, 2011

Friday March 18, the Austrian art restitution advisory committee will meet to discuss the ownership of the most important work of art still disputed in the aftermath of WWII, Vermeer’s Art of Painting. The case is not closed in favor of the Viennese art institution. Randol Schoenberg, the heavy-weight Los Angeles attorney who represents Helga Conrad, the step-daughter of Jaromir Czernin-Morzin  who in turn sold the work to Hitler, has litigated several prominent Nazi-looted art cases., including Republic of Austria vs. Altmann.  Schoenberg won the return of five paintings by Gustav Klimt valued at over $300 million.

Read an article by Randol Schoenberg here.

The painting’s afterlife in cluding the Czernin case.

in a nutshell (source: Wikipedia):

After the Nazi invasion of Austria, top Nazi officials including Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring attempted to acquire the painting. It was finally acquired from its then owner, Count Jaromir Czernin by Adolf Hitler for his personal collection at a price of 1.65 million Reichsmark through his agent, Hans Posse on November 20, 1940.[7] The painting was rescued from a salt mine at the end of World War II in 1945, where it was preserved from Allied bombing raids, with other works of art.

The Americans presented the painting to the Austrian Government in 1946, since the Czernin family were deemed to have sold it voluntarily, without undue force from Hitler. It is now the property of the State of Austria.

In August 2009 a request was submitted by the heirs of the Czernin family to Austria’s culture ministry for the return of the painting. A previous request was submitted in 1960s however it was  “rejected on the grounds that the sale had been voluntary and the price had been adequate.” A 1998 restitution law which pertains to public institutions has bolstered the family’s legal position.

It’s Vermeer year in Japan

March 12th, 2011

Communication: Visualizing Human Connection in the Age of Vermeer
Kyoto Municipal Museum, Kyoto
June 25 – October 16, 2011 (curator: Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.)

second venue:
Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo
December 23, 2001 – March 14, 2012

date to be announced:
The Miyagi Museum of Art
34-1 Kawauchi-Motohasekura, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi

After the arrival of Vermeer’s Geographer, it’s the world premiere of Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter after its restoration.

exhibition website (in Japanese only):

Vermeer-related essay.

March 6th, 2011

“The Art of Music”
in APOLLO, March, 2011
Desmond Shawe-Taylor

The essay can be read online at:


Essential Vermeer goes Facebook

March 6th, 2011


What does the global social network Facebook have to do with Vermeer? At first glance very little. Take a look at many of the art institutions’ Facebook pages that tend to be one-way monologues with insignificant interaction. People’s comments really don’t seem to matter.

And yet the chance to bring the Vermeer community a bit closer might be worth a try. I have found Facebook surprisingly efficient for diffusing news rapidly and opening lines of quick, two-way communication.

So what can you do? Have a look, leave a comment and keep on coming I’ll keep on plugging away for a year or so – the time necessary to evaluate any web initiative – and see if a marriage between social networking and art history makes any sense.

Vermeer’s Geographer: A Multi-Continent Exodus

March 4th, 2011

After the exhibition at the at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Vermeer’s Geographer continues its exodus to Tokyo, Aichi, then further overseas to Wellington, New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia. The Städel Museum in Frankfurt, which is currently closed for full renovation, assures it that all its paintings in the exhibition will be back home for reopening in late 2011 or 2012. More details when available

Vermeer’s Music Lesson at the Dulwich Picture Museum

March 4th, 2011