NEW YORK, Nov. 22, 2004 – LAWFUEL – Law, legal, attorney news – The …

NEW YORK, Nov. 22, 2004 – LAWFUEL – Law, legal, attorney news – The heirs of Prof. Curt Glaser, a prominent Jewish art historian and collector of Edvard Munch
art works, are seeking to locate the painting “Street in
Kragero”, painted by Edvard Munch in circa 1911. The
painting was gifted to Prof. Glaser in 1927 by Edvard Munch
and was later lost in Nazi Germany some time between 1934
and 1936, when it was obtained without Prof. Glaser’s
consent by Albert Ottenheimer, later Albert Otten, an art
collector in Cologne, Germany. Although Prof. Glaser
attempted to obtain the painting back from Otten in about
1936, he was refused and died in 1943 prior to the end of WW
II. The painting had gone missing from the Curt Glaser heirs
until it was sold at Sotheby’s at auction on June 24, 2002.
Sotheby’s failed to discover Prof. Glaser’s prior ownership
of the painting and had been given an ownership record by
the Otten family which omitted Prof. Glaser as the previous
owner and which stated that the painting had been purchased
directly from the artist Edvard Munch through the Hermann
Abels Gallery in Cologne. The Otten ownership record also
failed to give a date of the purported sale from Munch to
Otten. In a letter dated December 25, 1936, from Prof.
Glaser to Edvard Munch, Glaser said the painting had been
sold behind his back (without his consent) to a collector in
Cologne and that he had attempted to obtain it back without
success. At the time, Prof. Glaser was in exile in
Switzerland having lost his position as the Director of the
Berlin State Art Library due to a Nazi law which forbade
Jewish persons from holding civil servant positions. The
painting, which was considered to be “degenerate art” by the
Nazis, had been left with Glaser’s brother, Paul Glaser, in
Berlin when Prof. Curt Glaser fled Germany in 1933. After
extensive research, the Glaser heirs discovered
correspondence between the Hermann Abels Gallery and the
Berlin National Gallery in 1934, which proved that the
Hermann Abels Gallery knew of Prof. Glaser’s previous
ownership of the painting, prior to its purported conveyance
through the Hermann Abels Gallery to Otten. In addition,
upon inquiry, the only ownership documentation provided by
the Otten family to the Glaser heirs was an ownership record
created and kept by the Otten family stating that Otten had
bought the painting directly from the artist Edvard Munch
through the Hermann Abels Gallery at an unknown date. Such
record appears to have created and kept by the Otten family
after the Abels correspondence in 1934 with the National
Gallery in Berlin, which established Prof. Glaser’s prior
ownership of the painting, and after Prof. Glaser attempted
to obtain the painting back from Otten in circa 1936. This
is because the ownership record was hand written in English
on a printed MOMA ownership card, and is thus thought to
have been created after Otten emigrated to the United States
from Germany in the late 1930’s.

Under Allied laws passed after WW II, sales of Jewish
property in Nazi Germany between January 30, 1933, and May
8, 1945, are presumed to be invalid. In addition, the
circumstances of the purported sale to Otten, including the
lack of authorization of the sale by Prof. Glaser, the
knowledge of the Hermann Abels Gallery that the painting
belonged to Prof. Glaser, Prof. Glaser’s attempt to recover
the painting prior to his death, and the false information
as to the painting’s previous owner on the Otten ownership
card, all indicate an improper/unlawful transfer to Otten
between 1934 and 1936 in Nazi Germany.

Following a recently completed extensive investigation by
the Prof. Curt Glaser heirs, and after Sotheby’s refused to
divulge the name of the purchaser of the painting at auction
and current location of the painting, the painting has now
been listed by the Prof. Glaser heirs on the Art Loss
Register as having been lost in the Nazi period in Germany.

A reward in the amount of $1000 is being offered to the
first person who provides information regarding the current
location of the painting and the name of its current
possessor. A photo of the painting hanging in Prof. Glaser’s
Berlin apartment, together with other Munch paintings owned
by Prof. Glaser, and a copy of the painting in Prof.
Glaser’s book regarding Edvard Munch are on file.

Anyone having knowledge of the whereabouts of the Edvard
Munch painting “Street in Kragero” and the name of its
current possessor should contact the attorneys for the Prof.
Curt Glaser heirs as follows:

David J. Rowland, Esq.
Rowland & Associates
Two Park Ave., 19th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10016
Tel. 212-685-5509
Fax 212-685-8862
Email: [email protected]

In Europe contact co-counsel as follows:

RA Peter Schink
Schink & Studinski
Ostseestr. 109
Berlin, Germany

Tel. 0049-30-42851177
Fax 0049039-42851178

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