Friday, 7 October 2016

To recover history from peril: on the dealer Paul Rosenberg and the Nazi seizure of Modern art

My latest article for The Art Newspaper, a review of the exhibition 21 rue La Boétie at La Boverie in Liège...

Anne Sinclair with her grandfather Paul Rosenberg. 
Photo: Sinclair Family
Woman in Blue in Front of a Fire, which was painted by Matisse in March 1937, has an interesting history. From the year it was painted until the Nazis invaded France in 1940, it was in the possession of the influential art dealer and collector Paul Rosenberg (1881-1959). To save it from loss—or worse, destruction—Rosenberg locked the painting with others in a bank vault in Libourne in southwest France, but in March 1941, the Nazis seized its contents. Soon after, it entered the collection of Hermann Göring and later vanished. It was next displayed at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Norway in 1968, and only recognised as one of Rosenberg's missing paintings in 2012, when it was lent to the Centre Pompidou. After it was returned to Paul Rosenberg's descendants two years later, the family sold it to a private collector.

This painting is on view in the exhibition 21 rue La Boétie at La Boverie in Liège, Belgium, and is just one of many intriguing stories to be discovered in this highly enjoyable presentation. The exhibition—named after the address of Paul Rosenberg's Paris gallery—follows the timeline of Rosenberg's life and profession: the rise of art dealers in the late 19th century; his dealings with some of the greatest artists of his day; the Nazi invasion of France and their looting of Modern art; and Rosenberg's time in New York and his attempts to recover his lost works of art.

To read the rest of the article, follow the link: To Recover History From Peril