'Degenerate Art' Database Shows 21,000 Works Seized by Nazis





Berlin’s Free University will today go live with an Internet database documenting the fate of more than 21,000 artworks condemned as “degenerate” by the Nazis and seized from German museums in 1937.

The Web site, the result of eight years of research by art historians at the university, includes works by Franz Marc, Emil Nolde, Otto Dix, Marc Chagall, Max Beckmann, Wassily Kandinsky and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. It gives details of the museums they were seized from and their current location, in cases where it is known and where the work wasn’t destroyed.

“We are hoping that this will yield more information about the fate of some of the art, perhaps from private collections and archives,” Meike Hoffmann, one of the scholars involved in the project, told a news conference in Berlin yesterday. “We also want to draw attention to and document the wonderful collections of modern art the German museums had in the 1930s.”

As well as looting hundreds of thousands of artworks from private Jewish collectors, the Nazis seized thousands of modern works from German museums. Their aim was to rid the museums of art they saw as contrary to Aryan ideals, and instead promote regime-approved artists such as the sculptor Arno Breker....

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