HEIRS OF PAUL VON MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY FILE SUIT AGAINST THE GERMAN STATE OF BAVARIA TO RECOVER PICASSO ‘S MADAME SOLER LOST IN NAZI PERSECUTION

PABLO PICASSO, "MADAME SOLER"

PABLO PICASSO, “MADAME SOLER”

The heirs of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy – a prominent Berlin Banker of Jewish descent who suffered Nazi persecution – announce that they have filed suit against the German State of Bavaria in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to recover an iconic oil painting by Pablo Picasso, entitled Madame Soler (1903) from the artist’s “blue period.” (See Julius H. Schoeps, et al. v. State of Bavaria, 1:13-cv-02048-UA.)

The Mendelssohn heirs base their claim upon well-developed historical facts, the bona fides of which the federal court in Manhattan credited several years ago in a closely related case. (See Julius H. Schoeps, et al. v. Museum of Modern Art, 594 F. Supp.2d 461, 466 – S.D.N.Y. 2009).

1. Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s loss of Madame Soler due to Nazi persecution

The Nazis took power in Germany on January 31, 1933 with a transparent agenda to exclude Jews – and Jewish banks and bankers especially – from the economy of Germany and to compel them to forfeit their property. Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was an immediate target of the Nazi regime given his prominence, wealth and social standing. The Mendelssohns were Germany’s most prominent Jewish family. The famous composer Felix Mendelssohn was a family member, as was Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn & Co. bank, established in 1795, was one of the five largest private banks in Germany.

By October 1934, Nazi policies and predation had obliterated the value of Mendelssohn-Barthtoldy’s 22% equity interest in Mendelssohn & Co., causing his income to plummet from about 430,270 RM in 1932 (the year before the Nazis took power in January 1933) to only 59,374 RM in 1934. So in less than two years Nazi policies had diminished Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s income by a staggering 86%. In 1934, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s annual alimony expense alone more than doubled his diminished income. By negating the value of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s primary asset, Nazi policies and pressure compelled him to seek liquidity from alternative sources.

Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s superlative private art collection, established over many years beginning in the early 1900’s, was one of his most significant assets and represented the only source of liquidity available to him to respond to his escalating negative cash flow deficit. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s collection was comprised of about 60 master works by luminaries such as Picasso, van Gogh, Braque, Monet and Renoir, among others.

Between September 1933 and February 1934, Nazi persecution compelled Mendelssohn-Bartholdy to sell or consign some 16 of these master works – including Madame Soler – having never even attempted to sell a single major artwork in the previous 25 years. The Mendelssohn heirs maintain that the loss of Madame Soler represented a signal milestone along a path that Nazi authorities meticulously engineered to marginalize Jews and deprive them of their property which facilitated later mass genocide.

2. Bavaria’s 1964 purchase of Madame Soler in New York

In 1964, the Bavarian State Paintings Collection (“BSPC”) purchased Madame Soler in New York City from art dealer Justin Thannhauser who had taken possession from Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in 1934. Former Nazi party member and the incoming director of the BSPC Halldor Soehner represented Bavaria in the purchase. Even though Soehner knew that Mendelssohn-Bartholdy had owned Madame Soler – and was expressly aware of the painting’s “Jewish Provenance” – he failed to ask Thannhauser the reasonable questions that the circumstances demanded: From whom did Thannhauser acquire Madame Soler? When did Thannhauser acquire it? What, if anything, did Thannhauser pay for it?

3. Bavaria’s current refusal to restitute Madame Soler, or even to apply to this claim its own prescribed criteria for Holocaust era restitution cases

In 2009, the Mendelssohn heirs sought restitution from the BSPC for Madame Soler. Notwithstanding its awareness of the clear evidence of a forced transfer from Mendelssohn-Bartholdy set forth above, the BSPC refused the exhaustively documented claim of the Mendelssohn heirs to return Madame Soler. Moreover, the BSPC failed to apply to this claim the criteria that it and other German states had specifically prescribed to resolve such controversies and which were expressed in a Common Statement as well as related Guidelines. In addition, the BSPC refused the request of the Mendelssohn heirs to submit their claim to the German Limbach Commission, which the German federal government and its constituent states established specifically to hear claims for the recovery of Nazi era artworks and to decide these claims in a non-binding, equitable and fair manner. Accordingly, the BSPC gave the Mendelssohn heirs no option but to file suit in New York to reclaim the painting.

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“TELL ME, WHAT’S THE COLOR OF THE AIR?” (F. DOSTOEVSKJ) / NEW LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTS SERIES (PHOTOGALLERY # 3)

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI - LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTS NOT AVAIL (1)

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI - LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTS NOT AVAIL (2)

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI - LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTS NOT AVAIL (3)

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI - LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTS NOT AVAIL (4)

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI - LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTS NOT AVAIL (5)

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LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTS 

by Roberto Alborghetti 

LacerR/Actions Project

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Realistic and not manipulated Images

of Torn and Decomposed Publicity Posters

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PAPER SIZE: 45X32,5

IMAGE SIZE: VARIOUS

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These take us back to the prehistoric art at Lascaux

while pushing us forward into a post apocalyptic landscape featuring ruins of our own global civilization.”

Jonathan E.Raddatz, Artist, Canada

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Roberto Alborghetti ‘s LaceR/Actions is a multidisciplinary project and research about the apparent chaos of ripped and decomposed posters and urban/street tokens. 

Transferred on canvas, reproduced on lithographic prints or textiles (as pure silk), re-built on collages or scanned in videoclips, the details of torn and decomposed posters give new life to paper lacerations and matter decomposition, as you may see in this gallery reproducing on lithographic prints some of the 40.000 images captured so far by Roberto Alborghetti during his research all around the world.

IMAGES & SCIENCE / THE PROCESSING OF VISUAL SIGNALS IN THE BRAIN: A RESEARCH BY KU LEUVEN AND HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

© ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI – LACER/ACTIONS 2012 - GRAPHIC LAY OUT FROM THE OFFICIAL POSTER OF "COLORS OF AN APOCALYPSE" SHOW

© ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI – LACER/ACTIONS 2012 – GRAPHIC LAY OUT FROM THE OFFICIAL POSTER OF “COLORS OF AN APOCALYPSE” SHOW

I work with images and colors for my “Lacer/actions” project (pics of torn and decomposed publicity posters on billboard spaces). And I read some interesting news at KU Leuven Focus Monthly (see link below for the complete article)…  

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Once rhesus monkeys learn to associate a picture with a reward, the reward by itself becomes enough to alter the activity in the monkeys’ visual cortex. This finding was made by neurophysiologists Wim Vanduffel and John Arsenault (KU Leuven and Harvard Medical School) and American colleagues using functional brain scans and was published recently in the leading journal Neuron.

Our visual perception is not determined solely by retinal activity. Other factors also influence the processing of visual signals in the brain. “Selective attention is one such factor,” says Professor Wim Vanduffel. “The more attention you pay to a stimulus, the better your visual perception is and the more effective your visual cortex is at processing that stimulus. Another factor is the reward value of a stimulus: when a visual signal becomes associated with a reward, it affects our processing of that visual signal. In this study, we wanted to investigate how a reward influences activity in the visual cortex.”

Link to complete article:

http://www.kuleuven.be/english/news/reward-linked-to-image-is-enough-to-activate-brains-visual-cortex

THE “PRIMAVERA” GARDEN…/ SCENES FROM A TORN PUBLICITY POSTER

Roberto Alborghetti ‘s LaceR/Actions is a multidisciplinary project and research about the apparent chaos of ripped and decomposed posters and urban/street signs.

Transferred on canvas, reproduced on lithographic prints or textiles (as pure silk), re-built on collages or scanned in videoclips, the details of torn and decomposed posters give new life to paper lacerations and matter decomposition, as you may see in this images series with some of the 40.000 images captured by Roberto Alborghetti during his research all around the world.

The most recent Roberto Alborghetti Show (“Colors of an Apocalypse: An Intrigue for the Eyes and Mind from the Decomposed Publicity Posters”) was displaced for 100 days in the enchanting  Aldobrandesca Fortress (XIII Century) in Tuscany (Piancastagnaio, Siena, Italy) from October 6, 2012, to January 15, 2013.

HEAVEN & EARTH / ABSTRACT ON A COLLAGE MADE WITH WASTE-PAPER – THE CLIP

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Roberto Alborghetti ‘s Collage made with waste-paper

from torn and decomposed publicity posters.

“I Saw A New Heaven and A New Earth”

(Apocalypse of John),

70×50, 2012,

“Lacer/actions Project”.

Soundtrack: “Canon” by Dax Johnson.

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI LACER-ACTIONS - COLLAGE

“WHITE & WHITE”: A DIALOGUE THROUGH ART BETWEEN KOREA AND ITALY / AN EXHIBITION AT ORANGERY VILLA BORGHESE IN ROME

 

From March 29 to June 2, 2013, the Carlo Bilotti Museum,  Orangery Villa Borghese Park, hosts the exhibition “White & White: Dialogue between Korea and Italy”, organized by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (NMCA), curated by Vittoria Biasi and the NMCA, and promoted by Department of Cultural Affairs and Historical Center – Superintendent Capitolina. The selection of works is the result of a collaborative effort between Hyung-­Min Chung, director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, and Vittoria Biasi. Biasi’s research as an art historian and critic focuses on the monochrome white of the Twentieth century.

The exhibition “White & White: Dialogue between Korea and Italy” presents a convergence of two cultures on the color of white and its creative examination of it. As in the late 50’s, the works from the exhibition traces an imaginary, monochromatic line that connects the West and the East. White & White also offers a space for delving into the two cultures that are on the threshold of remarkable social changes.

The exposition began as a reflection on the different artistic and historical value of western avant-garde in relation to figuration and to the concept of  void in Korean traditions. Aside from the traditional Korean aesthetics on white, the Korean scholars of art recognize the artistic movements of the West and Japan from the early 1950s and 1960s as an important influence on the Korean monochromatic tendencies of the 1970s, in which the Korean artists have found a way to incorporate the elements from the West and their local roots. White & White retraces this history and examines the connection among Italy’s Arte Povera, America’s Minimalism, and Japan’s Monoha.

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ROME

Museo Carlo Bilotti, Orangery Villa Borghese

Viale Fiorello La Guardia, 00197 Roma

Tel. 060608

info@museocarlobilotti.it

http://en.museocarlobilotti.it/

FROM THE BIRTHPLACE OF SHAKESPEARE A NEW INITIATIVE TO REVOLUTIONISE THE WAY THE LEGENDARY PLAYWRIGHT IS TAUGHT

 William Shakespeare

Teachers in Singapore are being supported to change their approach to teaching Shakespeare by adopting techniques used by actors and directors as part of a pioneering new project from the UK’s Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the University of Warwick that aims to transform classroom experiences of Shakespeare. According to research undertaken by the RSC and the British Council up to 64 million children across the world learn about Shakespeare’s plays, but for some it is not the life enriching experience it could be.

The RSC, based in Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK, has teamed up with Warwick Business School, which is part of the University of Warwick, UK, to change that. Together, they have produced a one-stop shop online professional development programme, called Teaching Shakespeare, that holds a treasure trove of materials including over 100 films featuring modelled lessons and interviews, with leading RSC directors and practitioners along with academics from the University of Warwick. This ground-breaking programme provides teachers with the essential skills and knowledge to develop active, drama-based approaches to teaching Shakespeare in their classrooms.

Encouraging students to get up on their feet and actively explore Shakespeare’s plays has already brought the text to life for thousands of youngsters in Britain through the work of the RSC’s Education department. This new online learning platform, created by the RSC and Warwick Business School will be able to reach millions more globally.

Now Warwick Business School Professor Jonothan Neelands is travelling to Singapore to show at first-hand how these teaching methods can not only improve children’s understanding of Shakespeare, but boost their self-confidence and communication skills as well. Professor Neelands will be holding a workshop from Saturday March 16 to March 20 at the Singapore Repertory Theatre.

Our humble ambition is to transform how Shakespeare is taught across the world,” said Professor Neelands, who is a National Teaching Fellow and Chair of Creative Education at Warwick Business School. “We find that the best way to encourage young people to develop a joy in reading Shakespeare is through getting them up on their feet, moving around, speaking the words and making the choices that actors do. The RSC’s research has shown that this approach is more likely to lead to a lifelong love of Shakespeare rather than sitting around in class and reading dusty books.”

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC director of education, said: “We know there is a global community of teachers that are passionate about teaching Shakespeare and who want to explore new ways of teaching in order to unlock language, inspire learning and release imagination in students of all ages. “We hope to reach thousands of teachers through our new online programme and in doing so transform classroom experiences of Shakespeare for all kinds of learners. We hope that Teaching Shakespeare enables both teachers and their students to enjoy and achieve more together in their Shakespeare work.”

English eight year-old Ben now ranks Shakespeare alongside the most exciting things in the world after taking part in one of the RSC’s classes. The Stokeinteignhead Primary School pupil said: “My dad said Shakespeare was boring, but he’s got it wrong! I’m gonna tell him about Hamlet. It’s got murders and ghosts and castles and stuff and that’s not boring.”

At Honley High School in Holmfirth in West Yorkshire, UK, teachers said: “Over 93 per cent of students were ambivalent or vehement in their belief that Shakespeare was not fun. After using theatre-based teaching over 79 per cent of students saw the study of Shakespeare as fun.”

And Lillian, a London primary school teacher in the UK, said: “After using practical approaches to Shakespeare we found the writing levels of pupils in a highly disadvantaged class had improved considerably: 86 per cent were now on target to achieve level four in their SATs. Before the Shakespeare teaching unit, only 53 per cent were on target.”

Australian teacher Kate Walsh, of Toowoomba in Queensland, said: “I teach at Harristown State High School. Studying with both the University of Warwick and the Royal Shakespeare Company has been a fantastic experience. Working within a global online classroom with great resources and supportive staff has developed my pedagogy, helping bring Shakespeare to life in a number of ways.”

Professor Neelands has given Teaching Shakespeare workshops at The Singapore Repertory Theatre from March 16 to 20.

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To visit the Teaching Shakespeare website go to http://www.teachingshakespeare.ac.uk/