Published  26/07/2001

Retrieving Durer

This week historic drawings valued at over DM 30 million have been returned to the Bremen Kunstwerein, their original home. Albrecht Durer’s ‘The Women’s Bathhouse’ — a masterly depiction of nude females enjoying their ablutions — has long been missed. That work alone is valued at some 7 million by experts. Karnzow Castle, north of Berlin, was a temporary haven for the 12 works recovered from wartime conflict. Then in 1993, curators at the Baku-based National Fine Arts Museum in the Russian Federation, correctly informed German authorities of an impending exhibition. This included works that were identified in Azerbaijan as having been transferred there by no less than the KGB. They were subsequently stolen before they could be returned to Germany, and after a series of incidents that would put John le Carre’s fiction in the shade, run to ground in a flat in Brooklyn in a locker under a bed.

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