Jerry Saltz appeared on CNN this morning to compare auction houses to genocidal totalitarian regimes and propose that two billionaires get together to resolve the Munich Hoard issue. One billionaire would pay restitution to all of the parties who lost art and the other would build a museum to keep this art together.
How the art itself it served by being kept together instead of circulated among collectors and museums Saltz doesn’t explain. But the New York Times has an answer to some of the very simplistic assumptions about “reparations [sic], which is what it’s called” that Saltz suggests here.
Charles Goldstein, counsel for Commission for Art Recovery, which is based in New York and was founded by Ronald S. Lauder, said his group had heard a few months ago “that a cache had been found,” and that it had belonged to “one of Hitler’s dealers.”
He expressed some understanding for the Germans’ difficulty in proceeding. “They’ve got a hot potato,” he said. “This stuff belongs to Gurlitt, and they have no proof that it’s not his. In order to determine that it’s not his, they have to make a determination that it was stolen or taken from the museums.”
He added that it was not clear that some or even most of the art can be restituted because of the statute of limitations and problems proving ownership.