Submissions:2016/Recovery of lost art testimonial

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recovery of lost art
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
Alex Liberman
E-mail address
I will recount how a painting looted by the Nazis from the National Museum collection in Warsaw during World War II was returned to Poland with the help of Wikipedia. “Murzynka” (Negress-1884) by artist Anna Bilinska-Bohdanowiczowa was thought to be lost when in 2012 the oil painting came up for sale at Berlin’s Villa Grisebach auction house. When my father, an art dealer, learned the painting was for sale he asked my wife and I to research it.
We found the painting listed in Wikipedia in an article about the artist as artwork stolen by the Nazis. My father wrote the gallery, “Almost by accident, I have discovered that this painting by Bilinska once was listed as a war prize, taken by the Nazis,” his letter went. “Is this known, and thus is the picture cleared for sale? I am sure this is a rhetorical question, but to me surprising.”
He received this reply: “We are very grateful indeed that you gave us the hint that this painting of Anna Bilinska formerly belonged to the National Museum in Warsaw. We have checked its provenance with the database ‘Lostart,’ where other international wartime losses are listed—although from museums in Poland. After we got your information we immediately informed the National Museum and the owner of the painting, a German private collector, about the new situation.”
The painting had been logged in Poland’s official directory of cultural heritage as lost during the war, and it was also listed in the Stolen Works of Art database of the international police network, Interpol.
According to several sources, Bilinska-Bohdanowiczowa was born 1857 and studied in Paris. She was particularly noted for her portraits of women. She died in 1893, suffering a fatal heart attack in Warsaw.
Length of presentation
15 min
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Will you attend WikiConference North America if your submission is not accepted?
sorry I couldn't make it to the conference, please visit my online presentation:
Recovery of Lost Art Wikimedia Presentation

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  1. Gamaliel (talk) 15:05, 30 August 2016 (EDT)
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