In the first accord of its kind, an American foundation is returning to a German museum works removed from the country. The Washington D.C.-based Wassmann Foundation will turn over to the MuseumZeitraum Leipzig more than 100 19th-century assemblage works by the early modernist Johann Dieter Wassmann (1841–1898) that were taken from storage in Weimar in 1912 without the knowledge or consent of the artist’s Leipzig descendants.
The foundation will keep a trove of photographic works by the artist, will continue to oversee conservation of all the works, and will contribute financially to a new home for the museum.
The works were shipped from Weimar to the U.S. in 1912 by the artist’s son-in-law and were taken into the care of three of his nephews. The foundation was established in 1969 and has until now governed the artist’s estate, a role that will now be shared with the museum.
Family members in Leipzig long believed the works were destroyed in World War II, becoming aware of them only after Germany’s reunification in 1989. The works are expected to go on display in Leipzig in July 2008.