Bruno Lohse and Hermann Goering

Bruno Lohse and Hermann Goering

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Title: Hermann Göring at the Jeu de Paume with Bruno Lohse.

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Storage location: National Museums Archives website

Contact copyright: © All rights reserved / National Museums Archives website

Picture reference: AMN, O30-438

Hermann Göring at the Jeu de Paume with Bruno Lohse.

© All rights reserved / Archives of the National Museums

Publication date: March 2014

Historical context

The art market in Paris under the Occupation

The fact is true, not to say undeniable: the art market in Paris under German occupation is flourishing. This euphoria is a reflection of a massive influx of goods taken from people of the Jewish faith and from anyone opposed to the IIIe Reich.

Nazi dignitaries saw the opportunity offered by confiscations to enrich their personal collections at a lower cost. Among them, the Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring (1893-1946), the real leader of an "artistic underworld", surrounded himself with touts called upon to flush out valuable collections. Bruno Lohse (1912-2007), art historian, specialist in Flemish and Dutch masters of the 17th centurye century, impresses Göring with his knowledge. Lohse becomes one of the missi dominici in charge of enriching the Göring collection, by tracking down works from the finest collections of French artistic heritage.

A photographer from the Rosenberg Service (ERR), possibly Hans Simokat, immortalized at least two visits out of his 20s that Hermann Göring made to the Jeu de Paume Museum between November 1940 and November 1942, without it being possible for the 'moment to further specify the date of the present image. It fits into a small series of half a dozen near-simultaneous shots, the purpose of which was probably not to be published but to keep track of the passage of this powerful "protector".

Image Analysis

In the footsteps of the Rembrandts

Comfortably installed on a sofa in a museum office, requisitioned for the benefit of the Parisian service of the ERR, under the satisfied gaze of Bruno Lohse, Hermann Göring attentively examines a monograph devoted to Rembrandt, very probably one of the historian's publications. of German art Wilhelm R. Valentiner, great specialist in the painter since his thesis defended in 1904.

Under his eyes, to his left, we think we recognize a portrait of Saskia painted in 1633. This painting belonged to Lord Elgin in the 1920s. In another photograph taken a few moments apart, Göring focuses on the portrait of Marten Looten (1632) from a London collection and that of Cornelia Pronck's husband, Albert Cuyper (1632) from the collection of the banker Henri Pereire (1841-1932) in Paris. This collector offered this painting to the Louvre in 1930.

Interpretation

A History of Taste: The Reichsmarschall Collection

Bruno Lohse's happy face in this photograph augurs well for a good catch. The charge de mission, responsible for the personal acquisitions of the Reichsmarschall on the Parisian market, seems to zealously accomplish the mission entrusted to him. On his second visit to the Jeu de Paume, on November 5, 1940, Göring had selected for his personal collection the Portrait of a boy with a red chef's hat, freshly entered in the Rothschild collections. A month earlier, the curator of the Göring collection, Andreas Walter Hofer (1893-1971?), Had acquired for him a portrait of Saskia, also from 1633. This was, however, only a studio production.

The image does not make it possible to take the measure of the scale of the transactions operated on the art market during this dark period, just as it does not allow to get an idea of ​​the unscrupulous attitudes of too many. French art dealers who will sacrifice their ethical considerations without qualms for their economic interest. This photograph is nevertheless revealing of a certain part of the history of art; a story of taste. It highlights the place of excellence, according to the aesthetics of IIIe Reich, Northern Schools in the private collection of Hermann Göring.

  • Occupation
  • Louvre
  • War of 39-45
  • Nazism
  • Paris
  • Göring (Hermann)

Bibliography

Hector FELICIANO, The disappeared Museum. Investigation into the looting of works of art in France by the Nazis, Paris, Austral, 1995.

Lynn H. NICHOLAS, The Plunder of Europe, Paris, Le Seuil, 1995.

Rose VALLAND, The Art Front, Paris, R.M.N. - Grand Palais, 2014.

Laurence BERTRAND DORLÉAC, The Art of Defeat, 1940-1944, Paris, Le Seuil, 1993, new. ed. 2010.

Emmanuelle POLACK and Philippe DAGEN, The Notebooks by Rose Valland. The looting of private art collections in France during World War II, Lyon, Fage Éditions, 2011.

Nancy H. YEIDE, Beyond the Dreams of Avarice. The Hermann Goering Collection, Dallas, Laurel Publishing, L.L.C., 2009.

Notes

1. ERR: German Service dependent on the National Socialist Party (NSDAP), responsible for the ideological struggle throughout Europe against Jews and Freemasons. Installed at the Jeu de Paume in the fall of 1940, he himself carried out most of the targeted and large-scale seizures and received the works of art found during the opening of the bank vaults carried out by the Devisenschutzkommando and during the looting. apartments as part of the Möbel Aktion.

To cite this article

Emmanuelle POLACK with Alain PREVET, "Bruno Lohse and Hermann Goering"


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