Art, Art History and Design, School of
Easier Said than Done--Returning Stolen Art to Its Owners: Review of Michael J. Kurtz, America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe's Cultural Treasures
Date of this Version
The return of "cultural treasures" stolen by the National Socialists is the subject of a burgeoning field in print and film; Michael J. Kurtz's book of 1985 is here revised and updated to include the events of recent decades: the end of the Soviet Union and a divided Germany, along with the reemergence of looted art and lawsuits seeking to reclaim it. As Kurtz states in his introduction, "cultural restitution is an ongoing phenomenon" (p. x). This situation is all too clear from Kurtz's book and parallel developments in the last few years. This extremely rich work continues to be of value to specialist readers, but non-specialists might find the book occasionally dense enough to make it difficult going. .. These very minor reservations aside, this book makes an excellent contribution to the literature on art theft in World War II. It will be required reading for anyone interested in art restitution.
Published online in H-German, H-Net Reviews. December, 2009. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=25291
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