A large quantity of art by well-known artists was acquisitioned by the Nazi’s during the second world war, some of it never repatriated to its rightful owners.
It is over 70 years since the war ended and there is still a large number of artworks still to be found. Some may have been destroyed and others sold on down the line but where they are now, is a mystery.
One such piece is a painting by Franz Marc titled “The Tower of Blue Horses” (1913). This has not been seen in public since a Nazi exhibition of “degenerate” art in Munich in 1937. However, two curators of shows opening in Germany this month believe the painting may have survived. They are putting on an exhibition in honour of the missing masterpiece with a hope of raising public awareness of the painting’s disappearance.
This work was painted just before the First World War and six years later it was purchased by Berlin’s National Gallery as one of the finest works by a Blaue Reiter (blue rider) artist.
Marc and Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky and other members of the group believed that the colour blue was a spiritual colour.
The Nazi’s called it degenerate art
In 1936, Marc’s work was declared “degenerate” by the Nazi’s and the following year the painting was displayed in the Munich exhibition. The showing of the work caused protests from war veterans because Marc had died fighting for Germany in 1916. Because of the protests, the work was withdrawn from the show and seized by Herman Göring, Hitler’s deputy in 1938.
After the end of the Second World War, the picture went missing. However, it is believed that the painting might have survived because there have been a number of sightings of the work since then and a collector in 2001 says he was offered the work although he never viewed the piece.