Attorney David Toren, 90, is asking courts in the State of New York to help him win back two valuable works of art stolen by the Nazis.
Recently Toren found out that the son of Hitler’s favorite art dealer, Cornelius Gurlitt, had for decades owned three of the paintings owned by his family. The story came out when German authorities raided Gurlitt’s Munich apartment in 2013. There they found a $1.3 billion art collection he had been selling off, piece by piece, whenever he needed income.
One of the paintings was Two Riders on the Beach, by Max Liebermann.
Now Toren is searching for two others: Liebermann’s Basket Weavers and Nach House, painted by Franz Skarbiner.
The paintings, worth an estimated $5 million, were stolen from the Breslau mansion of his great uncle, industrialist David Friedmann, during World War II.
Friedmann’s entire collection of 54 pieces of museum quality art in that home was seized by Nazis as they stripped the Jews of everything they owned, selling it to finance the war.
Attorneys for Toren have petitioned the court to order Berlin-based art dealer Villa Grisebach Auctions, Inc., which has a branch in Manhattan, to open its books and reveal the buyer of the two paintings.
Nach House was sold in 1995 and Basket Weavers was sold in 2000, but the court papers indicate the art dealer refused to identify the buyers, citing client confidentiality.