Dr. Oetker, a German outfit that produces baking powder, cake mixes, yogurts, frozen pizza, pudding, cake decoration, and cornflakes, announced it had discovered four works in the company art collection that have been stolen from Jews by the Nazis, The Art Newspaper reported Monday. Dr. Oetker said it had contacted the heirs of the original Jewish owners to discuss a settlement.
According to an official statement, the Dr. Oetker collection includes several hundred paintings, silver and porcelain, mostly acquired in the 1950s by billionaire Rudolf-August Oetker, owner of the private food company Oetker-Gruppe, who died in 2007. Back in 2015, the company assigned a provenance researcher to investigate its art collection, following a study of Dr. Oetker’s history during the Third Reich.
The company was founded by Doctor August Oetker in 1891, to produce “Backin” baking powder. Rudolf-August Oetker was the grandson of Dr. August Oetker. He ran the company from 1944 to 1981.
“The goal is to check whether works in the collection were originally owned by people who were persecuted by the Nazis,” Dr Oetker said in an October 26 statement, adding that if any of the works is identified as Nazi loot, a settlement would be reached with the heirs of the original owners.
Four works have already been identified as looted by the Nazis, but a spokesman for Dr. Oetker did not identify them, due to confidentiality agreements with the heirs. The spokesman also would not discuss the private collection, which rarely loans works to museums or galleries.