April 10, 2021 – January 16, 2022
This exhibition presents 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.
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.
On October 14, 2021, the Worcester Art Museum, in partnership with Clark University's Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, organized and hosted a symposium centered on the exhibition, What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back). Scholars and educators spoke about the work of restitution of artwork from World War II and what was happening in Vienna and Europe more broadly as the Neumann family was fleeing the Nazis. There were special sessions for K-12 educators about resources and methods of teaching about the Holocaust.
Listen to a conversation with Richard Neumann's family and Sophie Lillie, Vienna-based art historian and restitution expert.
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
“Erinnerung an einen Sammler” (Memory of a Collector)
By Olga Kronsteiner, April 24, 2021
Renaissance masters offer a snapshot of a once vast collection plundered by the Nazis
March 1, 2021