Cologne auction house Kunsthaus Lempertz is auctioning a Wassily Kandinsky watercolor the Nazis looted from a museum in Hanover. But there is a question of who rightfully owns “Two Black Spots” and the original owners’ heirs want it back. Lempertz says the painting was “given away” by the owners to a family nanny in the 1920’s. Bloomberg reports Lempertz is selling it without warning about the provenance question. It remains to be seen if it will fetch its high estimate of $1.2m.
The heirs say their family, the Lissitzky-Kueppers, had loaned the watercolor along to Hanover’s Provinzialmuseum where the Nazis seized it. Later Goebbels put on a massive show of what he called “Degenerate Art,” including works from Chagall and many others. Lempertz says the heirs’ claim is “totally unfounded” and the sale will go on.