ALBANNY, NY – A painting of two 19th-century young men, a 1930s skater who was robbed of his Jewish family by the Nazis in 1933 and recently found in a small museum in New York, returned on Thursday after 87 years.
American artist Gary Melchers’ painting “Winter” was part of a cache of more than 1,000 works of art and artifacts seized from the Moss family, the well-known and well-built Jewish inhabitants of Berlin, who became the early targets of the Nazi party. Legacies are mercilessly searching to recover lost pieces from the past decade.
“The Moss family lost almost everything because they were Jewish. But they did not lose hope,” said a U.S. official working for the Northern District of New York. Attorney Bacon said at Albany’s FBI office fee homecoming ceremony. “While this will definitely not alleviate the pain suffered by the algae, but I hope it does bring some justice to the family.”
The Moses Art Restriction Project was launched in 2011 to find and re-establish stolen artwork on behalf of Moses’ legacy. They have completed three dozen restorations covering private individuals as well as more than 50 items from public and private museums in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, ND, Israel and the United States.
The resumption of this re-itutionary establishment after the Arkel Museum in Kanajohri, New York, began in January 2017 with a friendly closing note urging readers to “enjoy the winter” through a friendly Facebook post. It was illustrated with a picture of “winter”.
The post was noted by a student working with Dr. Mike Hoffman of the Free University of Berlin. Hoffmann is the head of the Mose Art Research Initiative, a university-based collaboration with Mose heirs and German public cultural institutions.
Hoffman said in an email that MARI’s Provence researchers were able to link the painting to the Moss family with the help of Suzanne Friedlander, executive director of the Arkel Museum.
“Winter”, sometimes referred to as “Skaters” or “Snow”, was purchased in 1900 by Magnet Madnet Rudolf Moss, who displayed it in a beautiful Berlin residence.
Moss died in 1920 and was succeeded by his daughter Felicia Lachman-Moss. She and her husband, Hans Lachman-Moses, ran a newspaper called Berliner Tagblatt, an important voice when the Nazi party rose to power. As a high-profile symbol of the “Jewish press”, the couple was persecuted and fled Germany in 1933. The Nazis seized family property, including artwork.
“It was one of the first large-scale operations carried out by the Nazis, which, unfortunately, was a model of what became a well-oiled machine,” said Roger Stroch, president of the Moses Foundation and great-grandson of Rudolf Moses. “He attended the ceremony via video link.
“Winter” was auctioned off in May 1934 to an unknown buyer. Five months later, she was in the gallery of New York City, where she caught the eye of Bartlett Arkel, a wealthy collector and company president who had become a beach-nut packing maker in Kanajohri.
Arkel moved the painting to New York, where it became part of a museum collection near the Mohawk River, which bears his name.
Bacon said there was no evidence that Arkel was aware of the dark history of painting.
Friedlander said at the ceremony that the museum takes responsibility for taking things seriously.
Federal officials were contacted because Moses Art Restoration Project Manager J. Eric Bartko was working to bring back the painting from the museum. The painting was recovered by FBI agents in September 2019. Formal formal assignments to the family were delayed by the epidemic.
Stroch said the painting is expected to be auctioned off by Sotheby’s, where it could attract bids in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most of the recovered artwork has been sold back to previous holders or sold at auction, he said.
Stroch said eight of his ongoing restoration claims are pending in Poland, Sweden, Germany, Israel and the United States.
“This war will never end,” Bartko recently said. “It’s a very visible way of reminding people that these crimes happened in the past and are still being prevented.”