Melchers, Gary. Winter (1900). Mosse Family Collection.
Rudolf Mosse, a German Jewish publisher in the early twentieth century, purchased the painting Winter in 1900 directly from the artist Gari Melchers. After his death in 1920, Mr. Mosse’s extensive art collection, including Winter was passed on to family members. In 1933, when the Nazis came to power, they seized the family’s assets, including the painting, in return for permission to leave Germany. The Nazis liquidated the family’s possessions. The painting was purchased a year later and appeared at an art gallery in New York City. It was purchased again by Bartlett Arkell, co-founder of the Beechnut Packing Company and became part of the Arkell Museum’s collection in Canajoharie, New York where it had been in public view for 85 years. An investigation conducted by the Mosse Art Restitution Project, which is operated internationally by the law firm Bartko, Zankel, Bunzel & Miller under the direction of J. Eric Bartko to recover works of art that were expropriated from the family by the Nazi regime, eventually tracked the painting to the museum.
Guidepost was contacted by the law firm to assist the attorneys with assessing the prospects for law enforcement intervention in the case; identify the most appropriate law enforcement office to present the case; and marshal the evidence to present to that office – the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York.
Benefit to the Client
Based on the evidence presented to the U.S. Attorney, on September 10, 2019, the painting was seized by the FBI. Several months later, the U.S. Attorney, at a ceremony at the FBI’s Albany, New York headquarters, formally returned the painting to the Mosse family heirs. We were honored to have assisted in returning Winter to its rightful owners and applaud the efforts of the heirs, the Bartko firm, the U.S. Attorney and the FBI.