Provenance Research on the painting "Women at the Flower Garden" by Emil Nolde
commissioned by the Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg
Facts & Files conducted research on the provenance of the painting “Women at the Flower Garden“ from January 2015 to June 2015. Since 1958, the painting was with the collection of the Lehmbruck-Museum in Duisburg. Until 1942 it was in the art collection of Eduard Müller. In 2017, the painting was restituted to the heirs of Eduard Müller.
Eduard Müller worked in the cigarette production industry since 1901 and was shareholder of the Cigarette Factory Adler-Compagnie in the Saxon capital Dresden. He collected paintings and graphic arts by contemporary artists.
When the National Socialists took power in 1933, his family was persecuted as Jews. Eduard Müller sold real estate and securities under duress. After 1939 his wife Rita and he tried to escape from Germany and to join their son in Ecuador. This plan was not realized because the war broke out.
Eduard Müller was arrested in winter 1941 and deported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered in February 1942. His wife Rita planned to flee to Budapest in Hungary, where their daugther was living. To finance the escape she sold the Nolde painting. She was arrested on her way to Budapest and was killed in Auschwitz in July 1942.
On November 30, 2015, the board of trustees of the Lehmbruck-Museum considered this sale as under duress defined by the Guidelines for implementing the Statement by the Federal Government, the Länder and the national associations of local authorities on the tracing and return of Nazi-confiscated art, especially Jewish property, of December 1999 of February 2001 as revised in November 2007.