Berlin / Cologne (dpa) - A watercolor by the Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele (1890-1918) is to be restituted by the city of Cologne to the heirs of the previous Jewish owner following a recommendation by the advisory commission on Nazi-looted property.
The decision on the work "Crouching Female Nude" from 1917, which is kept in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, was made unanimously by the committee set up by the federal, state and municipal umbrella organizations, as the commission announced in Berlin on Monday.
According to the commission, the dentist Heinrich Rieger probably received the watercolor from his patient Schiele himself. Rieger had built up an important collection of contemporary art in Vienna for decades, writes the commission, which belongs to the German Center for the Loss of Cultural Property in Magdeburg.
After Austria was incorporated into National Socialist Germany in 1938, Rieger was subjected to severe persecution because of his Jewish descent.
Rieger art collection was lost due to distress sales and Nazi robbery.
He himself was reportedly deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942, where he died at an unknown time.
His wife was deported to Auschwitz in 1944, where she was probably gassed on arrival.
Their son managed to escape to the USA in 1938.
According to the commission, the processes surrounding the watercolor itself are unknown.
Rieger's collection remained largely intact until March 13, 1938.
"In particular, Rieger only sold works by Schiele in rare exceptional cases."
According to the principles of prima facie evidence, the commission had therefore seen evidence provided that the "crouching female nude" on March 13, 1938 still belonged to Rieger's art collection and was subsequently confiscated as a result of Nazi persecution.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210208-99-352741 / 2
Information about Schiele's «»
Communication from the Commission