Fair And just solution for Nazi looted art At Ketterer Kunst
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Fair And just solution for Nazi looted art At Ketterer Kunst
Carl Spitzweg. Lagernde Karrner (Rast der Streuner). 1870. Oil on panel. 15.5 x 31.5 cm. € 30,000-40,000.

MUNICH.- It is a precious gem with a great provenance and an eventful history: Now Carl Spitzweg’s painting “Lagernde Karrner (Rast der Streuner)“ will be called up in the autumn auctions at Ketterer Kunst in Munich on December 9/10 in an amicable agreement with the heirs after Olga Mengers.

Up until 1916, Carl Spitzweg’s painting was part of the renowned collection of Carl Hugo Schmeil, which was dissolved in an auction that year. The catalog of Helbing/Cassirer caught the attention of the recognized Berlin commercial judge Dr. Alfred Mengers, who acquired the subtle masterpiece for the grand price of 7,000 Mark.

Mengers, who was also the director of his family’s “Velvetfabrik M. Mengers & Söhne“ in Berlin, lived in a large villa with his wife Olga Henriette. Olga was the daughter of the important businessman and art lover Sigmund Aschrott from Kassel.

In 1933, after her husband’s death, Olga Mengers and her sons, the art dealers Heinz and Kurt, were persecuted and driven to ruin by the Nazis. Their velvet factory was “Arianized“ and the inheritance confiscated, the house was sold and soon after Olga was allowed to use only two rooms of her apartment. Her sons Kurt and Heinz fled Berlin in 1936 and in 1938, their old and visually severely impaired mother stayed. In the autumn of 1942 she was deported to Theresienstadt, however, she would survive the concentration camp and was liberated in the summer of 1945. She returned to Berlin where she died in poverty in 1948.

But what happened to the Spitzweg painting? The National Socialists confiscated the belongings of the displaced Olga Mengers in 1942, her apartment was sealed and everything was “utilized“. It seems that the Nazi henchman sold the important Spitzweg picture “on the quiet“; perhaps it also got lost along with Olga Mengers’ emergency luggage hidden in the basement. The Mengers family definitely lost the work for good in 1942.

Even before the end of the war, the work was presumably privately-owned again, it seems very likely that it became part of the collection of an army doctor from Southern Germany, as it remained in the possession of his family into the 1980s, before it was acquired by the present owner on the art market.

Ketterer Kunst was able to mediate a fair and just solution in the sense of the Washington Principles. The auction house will call up Carl Spitzweg’s “Lagernde Karrner (Rast der Streuner)“ without pending restitution claims and in an amicable agreement with the heirs after the Mengers family in its autumn auctions.

Next to the work from Carl Spitzweg, the section of 19th CENTURY ART offers more than half a dozen works by the artist, among them “Mönch“ with an estimate of € 60,000-80,000, as well as works from, among others, Heinrich Bürkel, Edward Cucuel, Karl Hagemeister, Friedrich Nerly and Franz von Stuck.

The section of MODERN ART offers iconic works from “Painters of the Brücke - Collection Hermann Gerlinger“. Among them Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s “Das blaue Mädchen in der Sonne“ (estimate: € 2,000,000-3,000,000), Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s “Rote Düne“ (estimate: € 800,000- 1,200,000) and Erich Heckel’s poplar sculpture “Stehende“ (estimate: € 600,000-800,000). Other highlights are Emil Nolde’s “Meer D“ (estimate: € 800,000 – 1,200,000), Max Beckmann’s “Holzsäger im Wald“ (estimate: € 600,000 – 800,000). More fascinating modern art comes from, among others, Hans (Jean) Arp, Lovis Corinth, Paul Gauguin, Karl Hofer, Max Liebermann, Gabriele Münter, Emil Nolde, Christian Rohlfs, Egon Schiele and Hermann Max Pechstein.

In the section of CONTEMPORARY ART we find luminaries like Georg Baselitz with his “Hofteich“ (estimate: € 700,000-900,000) and Anselm Kiefer with “Die Ordnung der Engel” (estimate: € 300,000-400,000), but also Günther Förg, Katharina Grosse, Martin Kippenberger, Karin Kneffel, Konrad Lueg, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Günther Uecker and Gerhard Richter, as well as international artists: Richard Serra is represented with “Corner Prop No. 6 (Leena and Tuula)“, estimated at € 600,000-800,000, it is the sculptor’s first unique piece offered on the global auction market since 2016. Another highlight is “He Kept Following Me“ from David Wojnarovicz (estimate: € 350,000-450,000). The international array is completed by, among others, Tony Cragg, Keith Haring, Sol LeWitt, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Stanley Whitney, who celebrates an auction premiere in Germany.

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