Franz Marc: Scramble about his “Foxes”

The painting “The Foxes” by Franz Marc from 1913 was sold in London for more than 42 million pounds on March 1, 2022. By the sale Christie’s achieved a record for Franz Marc.

Before the auction could take place, the scramble about the “Foxes” took more than three years. Only in January, 11th – two months before the auction took place in March 2022 – the city of Duesseldorf in Western German restituted the art work to the heirs of Kurt Grawi (1887-1944). Grawi who was an important entreprenuer and banker in Nazi-Germany had to suffer from the Nazi-regime as a Jewish. After being imprisoned in 1938 he could escape to Chile.

What about the painting? In 1928 Kurt Grawi bought the “Foxes” by Franz Mark. In 1940 Grawi sold the Franz Marc painting to William Dieterle, a German-American film director in Los Angeles. Dieterle sold the painting in 1962 to the department store chain “Merkur”, which belonged to the German entrepreneur Helmut Horten. It was finally Horten who gave the work to the city of Duesseldorf as a gift. The “Foxes” were on view to the German public from the 1960s on until last year in the Museum “Kunstpalast” in Duesseldorf.

The discussions were concentrating on the fact that the sale didn’t happen in Nazi-Germany but in the States and in Chile – Grawi was in Santiago de Chile and the painting in New York when it was sold in 1938. The legal discussions has now ended after years, so that Ingeburg Breit (90), Kurt Grawi’s daughter-in-law, could get the painting back in January 2022. The record price of more than 42 million pounds only shows that rare and high-quality expressionists from Germany can achieve millions on the international art market.

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