Commission for Looted Art in Europe case leads to change in Bavarian Law
18 March 2011
The Commission for Looted Art in Europe has been informed by the German Federal Government that the Bavarian State Government has agreed to amend its constitution to enable the free return of Nazi looted art following a restituton claim brought by the Commission to the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung Munich. The Museum agreed the claim but would not return the work of art, a Rudolf von Alt watercolour, belonging to the heirs of Valerie Heissfeld, an Austrian Jewish woman murdered by the Nazis. In order to return the painting, the Museum would have been obliged to compensate the Bavarian state for the value of the painting, in accordance with a provision of the State constitution.
Following representations by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe to the German government, the Bavarian State Government has included a provision in the Budget Act for the fiscal years 2011/2012 whereby the Bavarian State Ministry for Science, Research and Arts is authorised to restitute, without compensation, cultural property expropriated under Nazi rule.
This provision will affect all cases now brought to Bavarian state collections and should lead to rapid resolutions of successful claims.