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German cathedral returns Nazi-looted painting to Jewish owners

Plus: Harvard University sued for ownership of slave daguerrotypes | and Monika Szewczyk to direct De Appel Center in Amsterdam

21 March 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

German cathedral returns Nazi-looted painting to Jewish owners | The Xanten Cathedral in Germany has agreed to return a painting attributed to Jan van der Heyden to the heirs of the Austrian Jewish collectors Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus. The painting, known as View of a Dutch Square, was one of approximately 160 works seized by the Gestapo in 1941, and sold to Hitler’s official photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, after the Kraus family had fled Nazi Germany. After the war the collection was transferred to the State of Bavaria, which subsequently sold it back to an heir of Hoffmann’s. The cathedral, which is partially visible in the painting, acquired it with no knowledge of this history in 1963.

Harvard University sued for ownership of slave daguerrotypes | Harvard University is being sued for ‘wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation’ of a series of daguerrotypes featuring two slaves identified as Renty and Delia, by a woman who says she is a direct descendent of the depicted subjects. The images were commissioned by a Harvard professor 170 years ago as part of a study arguing for the biological inferiority of black people. The plaintiff, Tamara Lanier, filed a suit yesterday in Massachusetts state court for the university to return the images, acknowledge her ancestry and pay an unspecified amount in damages. A spokesperson for Harvard said the university ‘has not yet been served, and with that is in no position to comment on this complaint’.

Monika Szewczyk named director of De Appel Center in Amsterdam | Monika Szewczyk has been named the new director of the De Appel Centre in Amsterdam. She replaces Niels Van Tomme, who at the end of last year took up the directorship at ARGOS centre for art and media in Brussels. Szewczyk was a member of the curatorial team for Documenta 14 in 2017 and has previously worked at the Witte de With Center and the Piet Zwart Institute; she will begin her new role in May.

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