Featured art Marc Chagall, Purim, c. 1916-17, oil on canvas. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963, 1963-181-11. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
During World War II, untold numbers of artworks and pieces of cultural property were stolen by the Nazi’s. After the war, an estimated one million artworks and 2.5 million books were recovered. Many more were destroyed. “Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art,”which opened Friday and runs through January 2022, chronicles the layered stories of the objects that survived, exploring the circumstances of their theft, their post-war rescue, and their afterlives in museums and private collections. 75 years after the end of World War II, 53 works of art and 80 ceremonial objects are on display at New York’s Jewish Museum once more.
Recounting how these works withstood the violence of war, is detailed in their often-complicated postwar rescue in a meditation on loss and recovery — both on an individual and collective scale.
“The exhibit is a sobering reminder of that history. We wanted to tell a concise and clear story of the looting but also to tell the story of recovery and ongoing restitution. It’s about coming to terms with what happened,” said Jewish Museum chief curator Darsie Alexander.
Afterlives includes objects looted from Jewish collections during the war, including works by Pierre Bonnard, Marc Chagall, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courbet, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Camille Pissarro. The Jewish Museum has also commissioned four contemporary artists to create new works that address the resonance of the exhibition’s themes: Maria Eichhorn, Hadar Gad, Dor Guez, and Lisa Oppenheim.
The Jewish Museum: 1109 5th Ave at 92nd St