In Zurich, Switzerland, the Kunsthaus museum is removing five paintings from an exhibition as it checks if Nazis stole them during World War II. 

The artworks, including pieces by famous artists like Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, are part of the Emil Bührle Collection. This collection has faced long-standing doubts about the origin of its artworks.

Switzerland Acts on Nazi-Looted Art, Pulls Monet and Van Gogh

(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Switzerland Reviews Nazi-Era Art Claims

The Emil Bührle Collection, housed in Zurich's prestigious Kunsthaus museum, is under new scrutiny. 

Named after Emil Bührle, a German-born Swiss industrialist who sold arms to the Nazis, the collection includes works by some of the most celebrated artists in history. However, the provenance of these artworks has been questioned for years.

According to BBC, Switzerland has recently started to take action following international guidelines to address art looted in wartime. As a result, five paintings, including Monet's "Jardin de Monet à Giverny" and Van Gogh's "The Old Tower," are being removed from display. 

These steps are part of Switzerland's effort to ensure that art stolen during the Nazi era is identified and potentially returned to the rightful owners or their descendants.

The Emil Bührle Foundation, which oversees the collection, has expressed its commitment to finding a fair resolution. They aim to work with the legal heirs of the original owners to address claims over these artworks. 

The action comes in response to new best practices endorsed by over 20 countries, including Switzerland, earlier this year.

In addition to the five artworks, another piece by Edouard Manet titled "La Sultane" is also under review, though it is handled separately. 

This painting was once owned by Max Silberberg, a German Jewish industrialist forced to sell his art by the Nazis. His tragic story, like many others, highlights the dark chapter of art theft orchestrated by the Nazis.

As Switzerland continues to examine the past ownership of these artworks, the international community watches closely. 

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Addresses Claims on Nazi-Looted Art

An independent panel in Switzerland has started reviewing a claim involving a painting from a large private art collection last May. 

As per The Art Newspaper, the painting, by Ferdinand Hodler, was originally owned by a Jewish woman who escaped Germany in 1937. The artwork, depicting Lake Thun with mountains, was part of the collection left by Bruno Stefanini, a Swiss real estate tycoon who died in 2018.

This panel, formed by the Foundation for Art, Culture and History (SKKG), is the first of its kind from a private collection to find fair solutions for claims of Nazi-looted art. 

The foundation is now managed by Stefanini's daughter, Bettina Stefanini. Her father's collection, kept in various old Swiss castles, includes about 6,000 oil paintings, with works by notable Swiss artists like Cuno Amiet and Albert Anker.

The foundation has begun a massive project to clean up and catalog these items, with a focus on identifying any items that may have been stolen or sold under pressure during the Nazi era. 

The commission, led by Andrea Raschèr, would make its decisions public after completing its review process. They also plan to potentially display parts of the collection in a new facility near Winterthur, named the Campo, which is not intended as a museum but will be open to visitors.

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