Sunday, May 12, 2013

Plein air -- heading out to the field!

Self-portrait on the Road to Tarascon (The Painter on His Way to Work)
Artist: Vincent van Gogh
Date: 1888
Place of Creation: Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
Dimensions: 48 x 44 cm (19" x 17-1/2")
Gallery: Destroyed


Gallery: Destroyed in the above provenance information?

What's this all about?  Hmmm!

Wait! "Destroyed by fire in the Second World War; formerly in the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Magdeburg (Germany), Magdeburg, Germany, Europe". (Van Gogh Gallery)

Who might be responsible for this? Answer: the RAF -- "Magdeburg was heavily bombed by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. The RAF bombing raid on the night of 16 January 1945, destroyed much of the city. The official death toll was 16,000 - however, it is now believed that at most between 2000-4000 citizens were killed." (Wiki)

More: "Thousands of citizens lose their lives during the most devastating air attacks on Magdeburg on 16th January. A deadly bomb attack wipes out the old city centre and reduces 90 percent of the buildings to rubble. 60 percent of the city is destroyed. The factories of the Krupp-Gruson-Werk, the Junkerswerk and the Brabag are affected to a great extent." (The Chronicle of Magdeburg)

Another version of the story holds that: "In 1945 most of the museum's pre-war collection was looted or destroyed when fire was set to its wartime storage at the Neustaßfurt salt mine." ( Here it seems the museum made some attempt to protect the collection but it backfired. So to speak. (Awwk.) This is one of those last-days-of-Nazi-Germany stories that may never be sorted out.

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