14 February 2015

Plundered love in black and white from the Jeu de Paume

by Marc Masurovsky

It is fitting to celebrate on our own way Valentine's Day, that annual pressure cooker of love and desire complete with chocolate treats and candlelight dinners.  Or is that all it's made out to be?  What else lurks on Valentine's Day?

We decided to take a romp through time and visit the Jeu de Paume in Paris at some point in the early 1940s when the Germans were busy stealing cultural property right and left, of varying degrees of quality.  The Jeu de Paume served as a central repository of plundered goods of all kinds and shapes as long as they were of artistic and cultural interest.

The haul was so vast that it was possible to tease out works and objects and cluster them around a particular theme.

February 14 is a perfect excuse to create our own "museum of desire" borrowing for a minute or two works and objects plundered only to be recycled in Nazi collections or cast out because of their inferior quality onto the Paris art market where covetous eyes preyed on the lost property of mostly Jewish victims and their friends.

On display today are a selection of works and objects that the Germans chose to photograph which, in our view, depict some of today's mood swings.  You be the judge.

Idealized woman from different places and different times


Attr. to David, R 1196

Venus-R 4437a

 Act I:  Let's not be shy....

R 4278
W. N. Gardiner-Arn 151

Watteau-R 866
 Bénard-R 1231

Love awaits......

Quiverdo-BoR 183
 Act II: Courage sets in...

G. Vidal-Mer 97
Fr. School-Hal 31
After Baudoin?-Drey 24

Act III: The denouement....

Lavreince-W 138
Fr. School-Ti 3

Fragonard-WP 13

Act IV: Happy Valentine's Day

Van Dongen-MA-B 548

Key to the captions:

BoR=Botschaft Rothschild
MA-B=Mobel Aktion Bilder
WP= Weil-Picard

For more information, go to www.errproject.org.