What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back)

April 10, 2021 – January 16, 2022


Neri di Bicci, Madonna with Child, 1400s, oil on panel, The Selldorff Family in memory of Richard Neumann

This exhibition will present 14 paintings and sculptures from the once extensive art collection of Dr. Richard Neumann (1879-1959), recently reunited following his and his family's efforts over 75 years to regain possession of them. The president of a successful textile company with mills throughout Austria and Bohemia, Neumann was a lover of the arts and an avid collector. In 1921, his collection was officially recognized with landmark status in Austria with 28 of the over 200 works acknowledged as particularly important. Following Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938, Neumann's collection was inventoried in accordance with anti-Jewish laws put in place by the Nazis. It was seized through forced sales and denied requests for export licenses, as the family fled first from Vienna and later from Paris to Cuba. In this exhibition, we present the extraordinary story of Richard Neumann—a discerning collector committed to promoting the role of the arts in civic life—, the family's persecution during World War II, and the long struggle to reassemble the collection. The small fraction of his collection that has been successfully restituted to his heirs are currently on loan to the Worcester Art Museum in recognition of Dr. Neumann's commitment to make his collection accessible to the public.

Press Release

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts and anonymous donors. Additional support is provided by the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, PEACE Fund GWCF, Marlene and David Persky, Carol and Michael Sleeper, Dr. and Mrs. Herbert Dean, Dr. Shirley S. Siff, Johanna D. Drooz Yoffie and Alan S. Yoffie and Carol Seager.

Related exhibition programming is supported by the Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund.

The exhibition is sponsored by Fallon Health.

Listen to a conversation with Richard Neumann's family and Sophie Lillie, Vienna-based art historian and restitution expert.

Press

Artnet
500 Years Ago, These Artists Were Household Names. Here's What Their Fall From Favor Suggests About the Vagaries of Fame
By Menachem Wecker, June 8, 2021

WGBH/Open Studio with Jared Bowen
What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann
June 4, 2021

The Boston Globe
At last, a grandson recovers art lost to the Nazis
By Murray Whyte, June 3, 2021

The Boston Globe
What's Happening in the Arts World: What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back)
By Murray Whyte, May 6, 2021

The Wall Street Journal
‘What the Nazis Stole From Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back)’ Review: Prized Pieces With History
By Willard Spiegelman, May 1, 2021

Antiques & The Arts Weekly
Worcester Art Museum Examines Restitution Issues
April 30, 2021

Der Standard
“Erinnerung an einen Sammler” (Memory of a Collector)
By Olga Kronsteiner, April 24, 2021

Yahoo! News
Renaissance masters offer a snapshot of a once vast collection plundered by the Nazis
March 1, 2021

Selected Images

Giovanni Battista Pittoni, the younger (Italian, 1687–1767), Hannibal Swearing Revenge against the Romans, about 1720s, oil on canvas
Giovanni Battista Pittoni, the younger (Italian, 1687–1767), Hannibal Swearing Revenge against the Romans, about 1720s, oil on canvas, The Selldorff Family in memory of Richard Neumann.
Maerten van Heemskerck (Netherlandish, 1498–1574), Left Altar Wing with Male Donor, about 1540, oil on panel
Maerten van Heemskerck (Netherlandish, 1498–1574), Left Altar Wing with Male Donor, about 1540, oil on panel, The Selldorff Family in memory of Richard Neumann.
Maerten van Heemskerck (Netherlandish, 1498–1574), Right Altar Wing with Female Donor, about 1540, oil on panel
Maerten van Heemskerck (Netherlandish, 1498–1574), Right Altar Wing with Female Donor, about 1540, oil on panel, The Selldorff Family in memory of Richard Neumann.