The “Degenerate Art by Hitler” exhibition will open its doors to the public on Friday in Cité Miroir, Liège. Twenty-six pieces that were sold at auction by the Nazis in 1939 have been gathered together for the first time. Nine of these pieces were purchased by a delegation from Liege. Seventy-five years ago in Lucerne (Switzerland), the Nazis organized an art sale of artwork confiscated from German museums because they were considered to be too vile. A hundred and twenty-five pieces were auctioned, including paintings by Picasso, Gauguin, Ensor and Chagall.
Having heard of the event, a Liege delegation of artists, entrepreneurs and politicians decided to purchase some pieces and managed to acquire 5 million old francs (3.5 million euros). They left Lucerne with 9 paintings and were biggest buyers of the sale.
A delegation from the Belgian government was also present and bought seven pieces for museums in Antwerp and Brussels.
Most of these works are now exposed for the first time in Cité Miroir, Liège. Other pieces have been loaned to American and German museums. Visitors to the “Degenerate Art by Hitler”exhibit will be able to see “The Soler family”(Picasso), “Death and Masks”( Ensor), “The Hiva Oa wizard” (Gauguin) or “The Blue House “(Chagall).
The exhibition is the result of a research project at the University of Liège in tracing works sold in 1939 in Lucerne. It also highlights the contradictions of the Nazis regarding degenerate art; some members of the Nazi party were included on that list, while senior officials, like Goebbels, collected the forbidden pieces.
The exhibition will be open until March 29, 2015.