The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family's Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis
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“An extraordinary piece of history...a fresh and lively read” (The Christian Science Monitor)—the passionate, gripping, true story of one man’s single-minded quest to reclaim his family’s art collection, stolen by the Nazis in World War II.
Simon Goodman’s grandparents came from German-Jewish banking dynasties and perished in concentration camps. And that’s almost all he knew about them—his father rarely spoke of their family history or heritage. But when his father passed away, and Simon received his old papers, a story began to emerge.
The Gutmanns, as they were known then, rose from a small Bohemian hamlet to become one of Germany’s most powerful banking families. They also amassed a magnificent, world-class art collection that included works by Degas, Renoir, Botticelli, Guardi, and many, many more. But the Nazi regime snatched from them everything they had worked to build: their remarkable art, their immense wealth, their prominent social standing, and their very lives. Only after his father’s death did Simon begin to piece together the clues about the Gutmanns’ stolen legacy and the Nazi looting machine. With painstaking detective work across two continents, Simon has been able to prove that many works belonged to his family and successfully secure their return.
“Fascinating...splendid and tragic” (The Wall Street Journal), “Goodman’s story is alternately wrenching and inspiring...An emotional tale of unspeakable horrors, family devotion, and art as a symbol of hope” (Kirkus Reviews). It is not only the account of a twenty-year detective hunt for family treasure, but an unforgettable tale of redemption and restoration.
room to greet Baldung’s Young Man. He looked remarkably fresh and rosy cheeked, with his hat still at a rakish angle, especially when I noticed, above the artist’s monogram, the date he was created: 1509. The Young Man was exactly five hundred years old. I could only marvel at the power of art to survive, as I touched, tentatively, the ancient frame. Although closer inspection showed a fair amount of damage to the paintwork of the sitter’s black coat, the colors had, fortunately, remained as
Cranach, Lucas the Elder, 85, 173, 180, 183 in Göring’s collection, 122 Melancholy, 84 Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, Elector of Saxony, 84–85 Samson and the Lion, 84, 125, 186, 192, 257 Venus, 83 Curie, Ève, 175 Cuyp, Aelbert, Chicken with Hens, 241, 247 Czernin, Count Manfred von, 162 Dalí, Salvador, Dream of Venus, 86–87 Degas, Edgar, 46, 124, 252 Femme se Chauffant or Woman Warming Herself, 88, 173, 194, 201, 208, 209, 274 Paysage or Landscape with Smokestacks, 88,
20–21, 22 Semper Opera House, 309 Dresdner Bank: anniversary celebration of, 306, 308–10 Berlin headquarters of, 24–26, 25, 31 board of directors, 27, 44, 69, 98, 99 and Commerzbank, 304, 305, 309 The Dresdner Bank in the Third Reich, 309 Eugen as head of, 23–27, 65–66, 309 and Eugen-Gutmann-Gesellschaft, 304, 305, 306, 308–9 foreign interests of, 27, 47 Fritz as banker with, 44, 47, 52, 65, 66, 102–3 and Germany’s industrial power, 26, 29 Gutmann family associations with, 27, 44,
of Sicily, and just weeks after Lili had appealed to the Mussolini government for help, Mussolini was deposed. Count Ciano, the Gutmann family friend, as part of the Fascist Grand Council, had voted for the removal from office of his own father-in-law, Mussolini. Just a month later the Italian government surrendered to the Allies—an act of treachery in the German view. As British and American troops landed in southern Italy, the German Wehrmacht occupied Rome and all the regions not already
he had no time to waste. That bulldog lawyer could storm in at any moment. “Why don’t we just split the profits?” Nick offered with a European shrug. They agreed and shook on it. When Sotheby’s lawyer returned, he was furious, but a deal had been agreed. In reality the auction house had been keen to avoid any public embarrassment about the sale of another Gutmann painting. Despite its lapses with the Botticelli, Sotheby’s managed to keep its commission, estimated at more than $100,000. The terms