WASHINGTON — Jed Leiber was an adult before he learned that his family was once part-owner of a collection of centuries-old religious artworks now said to be worth at least $250 million.
Over a steak dinner at a New York City restaurant in the 1990s he had asked his mother about his grandfather, a prominent art dealer who fled Germany after Adolf Hitler came to power. “What was grandpa most proud of in his business?” he asked.
“He was very, very proud to have acquired the Guelph Treasure, and then was forced to sell it to the Nazis,” she told him.
That conversation set Leiber, of West Hollywood, California, on a decadeslong mission to reclaim some 40 pieces of the Guelph Treasure on display in a Berlin museum. It’s a pursuit that has now landed him at the Supreme Court, in a case to be argued Monday.
For centuries, the collection, called the Welfenschatz in German, was owned by German royalty. It includes elaborate containers used to store Christian relics; small, intricate altars and ornate crosses. Many are silver or gold and decorated with gems.
In 2015, Leiber’s quest for the collection led to a lawsuit against Germany and the the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. The state-run foundation owns the collection and runs Berlin’s Museum of Decorative Arts, where the collection is housed. Germany and the foundation asked the trial-level court to dismiss the suit, but the court declined. An appeals court also kept the suit alive.
Now, the Supreme Court, which has been hearing arguments by telephone because of the coronavirus pandemic, will weigh in. A separate case involving Hungarian Holocaust victims is being heard the same day.
At this point, the Guelph Treasure case is not about whether Leiber’s grandfather and the two other Frankfurt art dealer firms that joined to purchase the collection in 1929 were forced to sell it, a claim Germany and the foundation dispute. It’s just about whether Leiber and two other heirs of those dealers, New Mexico resident Alan Philipp and London resident Gerald Stiebel, can continue seeking the objects’ return in U.S. courts.
In a statement, Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, argued that the suit should be dismissed. The foundation and Germany have the Trump administration’s support.
“Our view is that Germany is the proper jurisdiction for a case which involves a sale of a collection of medieval German art by German art dealers to a German state,” Parzinger said.
The suit’s claim that the Guelph Treasure was sold under Nazi pressure was also diligently investigated in Germany, he said. The foundation found that the sale was made voluntarily and for fair market value. A German commission dedicated to investigating claims of property stolen by the Nazis agreed.
Parzinger said records “clearly show that there were long and tough negotiations on the price and that the two sides met exactly in the middle of their initial starting prices.”
The art dealers’ heirs, however, say the purchase price, 4.25 million Reichsmark, was about one-third of what the collection was worth. Under international law principles, sales of property by Jews in Nazi Germany are also presumed to have been done under pressure and therefore invalid, said the heirs’ attorney, Nicholas O’Donnell.
Leiber’s grandfather, Saemy Rosenberg, and the two other Frankfurt art dealer firms he joined with to purchase the Guelph Treasure did sell other pieces of the collection outside of Germany. But their timing was unfortunate. The Great Depression hit soon after they purchased the collection. Some of the pieces were sold to The Cleveland Museum of Art or private collectors. The Nazi-controlled state of Prussia bought the remaining pieces in 1935. The two sides disagree on whether the collection was ultimately presented to Hitler as a gift.
Leiber says his grandfather never said anything to him about the collection, though the two played chess together on Sundays from the time he was 5 to when he was 11.
“He never spoked of the war. He never spoke of what he lost. He never spoke of the horrors that he and the family experienced. … I think it was very important to him to keep moving on, to move forward,” Leiber said.
Rosenberg reestablished his art business in New York. When he died in 1971, The New York Times called him a “leading international art dealer,” noting that his clients had included oil tycoon Paul Getty, CBS Chairman William S. Paley and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In the nearly 50 years since his grandfather’s death, Leiber has had his own star-studded career. In 1992, he founded NightBird Recording Studios at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, where his clients have included Madonna, U2, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. He’s particularly proud of his work with guitarist Jeff Beck and the late Aretha Franklin. But his grandfather was a singular influence on him.
“He’s a super-human figure in my life,” Leiber said. “And I decided that I had to do whatever it took to have returned what was taken from him.”
Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press
‘Glorified littering’: Junk street art installations popping up around Montreal – Global News
From the Van Horne skate park in the Mile End to NDG’s Saint-Jacques Escarpment, bizarre art installations are popping up around the city.
Prowling panthers, massive abstract beasts — it’s all put together from the imagination of the artist under the pseudonym Junko.
It’s a fitting name, for all the art he creates is entirely made from miscellaneous “trash” that he finds on the street.
“Basically, they’re carefully arranged piles of garbage,” Junko said. “You can call it glorified littering.”
Using things found on the street like car tires, bike frames, even shoes, everything is a workable piece in Junko’s creations.
Car bumpers are a common staple in his creatures.
“They’re definitely a popular item for me,” he said with a laugh.
Over the past few months, he has put together some six different statues around the city and abroad, all varying in size from small to towering.
A timber frame made from recycled wood holds the installations together.
“I’ve been making art my whole life,” Junko said. “My art has always been around creating creatures and characters. This is a new chapter in that.”
He says finding the junk isn’t that hard in the city but finding the right piece can be.
“Sometimes it’s extremely easy. I’ll be walking and find something and carry it home,” he said.
While shying away from the spotlight, Junko says he isn’t trying to make a point with his art, which he says speaks for itself.
“There no deep hidden meaning, it’s just a way to expressing myself,” Junko said.
That so-called trash is getting a lot of likes and recognition on social media and on the street.
“There is a lot of art in the neighbourhood, so it’s good, I’m not against it,” resident Nick Barry-Shaw said.
Juno sees his form of expression as a legal grey zone.
“The people are into it but I’m not sure about the city, though,” Junko laughed.
He said that unlike graffiti, his street art is not vandalism but simply “an organized pile of trash.”
So far, all four art installations in the city have not been taken down, according to Junko.
The young artist says there is a lot more art to come and people should keep their eyes peeled.
“I’m just getting started so, yeah, you can expect more work,” he said.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Fine art in your mailbox: local artist creates unique postcards – TheRecord.com
WATERLOO — A new postcard art project will use snail mail to rekindle memories of travel while sharing evocative original artwork.
Art galleries are closed due to the pandemic, and opportunities for local artists like Paul Roorda to display and sell their artwork are sparse.
“I just wanted to find a way to get my art out there so people can see it,” Roorda said.
His project “Somewhere Anywhere Postcards” is a series of hand-printed postcards that feature abstract landscapes, vintage stamps and messages of hope.
Roorda photographed different parts of an old, weathered wall. The lines and markings reminded him of beautiful landscapes, the ones you typically see on postcards from tourist destinations.
The postcards are small works of fine art, Roorda said, from the imagined landscape of the weathered wall he photographed, down to the vintage stamps he found and attached to each individual postcard.
The photographs were processed using an age-old technique known as cyanotype. Roorda mixes chemicals and brushes them onto paper. He then exposes the photographs in the sun and develops each photograph in water. The result of this process creates cyan-blue prints.
“I wanted to stay true to the vintage nature of the art,” Roorda said.
He has also written hopeful messages on the back of each postcard to uplift people during the pandemic as it keeps everyone indoors this winter.
“Right now with COVID we are surrounded by our walls, and we can see walls around us as barriers. I wanted to write something about seeing past those barriers at a time when people are feeling discouraged.”
Roorda is fascinated with vintage and antique items as well as found objects. Three years ago he created mini art galleries out of metal cash boxes and attached them to utility poles throughout Waterloo.
Roorda was ordered to remove them by bylaw officers, but was later granted permission by the city to temporarily display his art. The project was called “Time Stops” and each piece featured a musical element, found objects and messages.
Roorda’s postcard project is supported by a grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. He launched “Somewhere Anywhere Postcards” last week and has already mailed postcards to addresses across Ontario and to Europe.
Roorda’s postcards can be found in his online shop at www.paulroorda.com.
Watch: Marty One-Boot's art of the Yellowknife Snowcastle pour – Cabin Radio
Snow is like concrete, they say.
To build Yellowknife’s Snowcastle – even this year’s amended design, which is more like a castle grounds than a castle itself – you need to know your construction methods.
Putting together the walls that hold snow structures together requires plenty of carpentry to build wooden frames, then a snowblower and some nerve while you stand under a blizzard of snow and compress it with your feet.
Martin Rehak – Marty One-Boot, to give him the nickname he acquired after this exercise once went wrong – described the process to Cabin Radio. Here’s a little look at how preparations are going ahead of this March.
Camera, editing: Ollie Williams
Investor exuberance pushes BlackBerry shares up 40% to highest level since 2011 – CBC.ca
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Monday – CBC.ca
Rodgers uncertain of future with Packers – theScore
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
Sports22 hours ago
Dana White reveals fate of internet pirate he targeted for threatening to illegally stream UFC 257
Sports21 hours ago
Nate Diaz reacts to Conor McGregor’s KO loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 – MMA Fighting
Sports16 hours ago
Justin Poirier and Conor McGregor show mutual admiration during backstage meeting following UFC 257
Health18 hours ago
Dentists, teachers disappointed they won’t be prioritized for vaccine in B.C. – Global News
Sports12 hours ago
Player grades: Jesse Puljujarvi has game of his life as Edmonton Oilers beat Winnipeg Jets in a thriller – Edmonton Journal
Tech19 hours ago
You can unlock this secret Isu weapon in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla just by whacking a pile of rocks
Politics17 hours ago
Parliament resumes amid heightened political pressure on pandemic, vaccines
Tech19 hours ago
Canada Car Insurance Quote – How Anti-Theft Devices Help Reduce Premiums