The Telegraph tells the story of Leicester’s extraordinary collection of German Expressionist art and how it got there:
Just why Leicester houses the most important collection of works in this field – now numbering nearly 500 and including pieces by Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, Lyonel Feininger and Ludwig Meidner – can be traced back 70 years to the intersecting fates of a colourful Welsh museum director and a distinguished family of Jewish-German émigrés.
When Trevor Thomas, the gallery’s director in the early Forties, met Tekla Hess and her son, Hans, their situations, as well as their backgrounds, could hardly have been more different.
They had fled Nazi Germany in the wake of Kristallnacht and settled in Leicester in impoverished circumstances. Tekla was the widow of Alfred Hess, who died in 1931, a rich Jewish shoe manufacturer from Erfurt, a textile centre near Leipzig. The family were prominent patrons of the arts and sponsors of the Bauhaus – Alfred’s bedroom and stationery were designed by the school. Their walls were lined with the works of artists deemed “degenerate” by the Nazis. […]
Hans Hess escaped through Switzerland and France to England while Tekla initially stayed behind to safeguard the collection. “The vultures were circling as Tekla left,” says Lake. Some works made it with her to England while others disappeared.
Art treasures that defied the Nazi terror (Telegraph)