“Julius Freund (1869-1941) and the Fate of a German-Jewish Art Collection”

by Nathalie Neumann

National Gallery of Canada, Lecture Hall, Thursday, October 22, 6:00 pm

This lecture discusses the history of the textile merchant Julius Freund’s famous collection of art, which included many German Romantic drawings and painting.  Freund, the father of photographer Gisèle Freund, secured his collection of 400 works in 1933 in Winterthur, Switzerland; after his death in 1941, the family was forced to auction the collection in Lucerne.  In 2005, four of the works from the Freund Collection were the subject of the first recommendations made by the German federal Consultative Commission for the restitutionof Nazi-confiscated cultural artefacts, especially from Jewish ownership. Today, there are paintings from the Freund collection in many public and private collections, especially in Central Europe. The National Gallery in Washington and the National Gallery of Canada each own one work from the collection.  The histories of the purchase and ownership of these works reflect the handling of a variety of restitution practices in local, regional and national legal contexts.