Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz restitutes art objects from the collection of Rudolf Mosse


The Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) recently returned ownership of eight art objects in its collection to the heirs of Felicia Lachmann-Mosse. The art objects belonged to the extensive art collection of her father Rudolf Mosse, a Berlin based publisher, who collected art since 1880. The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation found the objects as it systematically screened its own art collection and tried to identify possible heirs, when the Mosse Art Restitution Project contacted them in 2014 and asked for information about the two art objects.

Hermann Parzinger, the director of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, said: "I am pleased that we found a fair and just solution in this case due to the Foundation´s former research. The returned art objects will be on loan to the museums for now and will therefore remain in their specific art collections. Rudolf Mosse, like no other, stood for the liberal Berlin of the early 20th century, in particular for the dynamic media landscape of that time. Rudolf Mosse was not only an outstanding publisher but also a great patron of the arts."

J. Eric Bartko, director of the Mosse Art Restitution Project: "On behalf of the Mosse Foundation and the current heirs of Rudolf Mosse I would like to thank the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation for its reparative good will."

Rudolf Mosse (1843-1920) owned one of the largest and most influential publishing houses of the Weimar Republic. The liberal-conservative businessman released over 100 professional journals since 1871 as well as the legendary Berliner Tagesblatt, which became the biggest liberal newspaper in Germany until 1933. The Tagesblatt was among the most popular German newspapers in foreign countries. Rudolf Mosse also used his wealth to promote holiday colonies, worker homes and orphanages. After Rudolf Mosse´s death his son-in-law Hans Lachmann-Mosse (1885-1944) became the publisher, the sole heir of Rudolf Mosse was his daughter Felicia Lachmann-Mosse (1888-1972).

The National Socialists regarded the Mosse family as a major symbol of the hated "Jewish Press". Immediately after Hitler took power in 1933, the National Socialists relentlessly persecuted the family because of their Jewish faith and their political stance. Felicia and Hans Lachmann-Mosse emigrated during the first half of 1933 to the U.S. The publishing house was subject to cooptation and destroyed. The family's assets were very quickly placed into state administration and divested from the family. The collection which Felicia had inherited from her parents Rudolf and Emilie Mosse was in large part auctioned in 1934, and partly sold otherwise. The proceeds were never transferred to the Mosse family.

The Mosse-Palais at Leipziger Platz 15, the residence of the family, housed the comprehensice art collection, which contained artworks by Adolph Menzel and Max Liebermann. Further object were located at Schloss Schenkendorf near Mittenwalde (Brandenburg), which served the family as a country house. The private collection was open to the public on various occasions. Several catalogues of the collection were published since 1908.

The Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz has restituted eight art objects of the collection:

- Sculpture "Liegender Löwe" ("Lying Lion" by August Gaul, 1903 (Inventory-No. B I 658)

- Roman Sarcophagus with cupids illustration, last quarter / End of the 2nd Century AD (Inventory-No. SJ 1881)

- Opferbecken "Sacrifice basin," presumably 5th Dynasty, limestone (Inventory-No. 27658) and Eingeweidekrug "guts jar," presumably 26th Dynasty, alabaster (Inventory-No. 27659)

- 2 Lions on quadrangular lotus pedestals, Ch'ein-lung, stone, (Inventory-No. CH V 12 a/b) and 2 lying / semi-upright greyhound dogs, permanently fixed on base, 19th Century, marble (without inventory number)

The Mosse Art Restitution Project was established by Roger Strauch in 2012. Mr. Strauch is one of the directors of the Mosse Foundation. The Mosse Foundation devotes itself to the worldwide search for cultural assets, which were confiscated by the National Socialists and which derive from the collection of Rudolf Mosse and his heirs. The project is managed by J. Eric Bartko, under the guidance of Martin I. Zankel and John J. Bartko of Bartko Zankel and is represented in Germany by Jan Hegemann and Felix Stang of Raue LLP. The primary goal of the Mosse Foundation is to promote German-American and German-Jewish relations.

Provenance Research and Issues of Ownership