A Nude Man Reclining, Holding a Club
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)
Sheet: 11.4 x 17.5 cm (4 1/2 x 6 7/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Black ink on paper
Not On View
Signed, monogram AD at L. lower center.
By 1834, Henryk Lubomirski (b. 1777 - d. 1850), Przeworsk (present-day Poland) [see note 1]; by inheritance to his son, Jerzy Henryk Lubomirski (b. 1817 - d. 1872), Przeworsk; 1869, transferred to the Ossolinski National Institute, L'viv (present-day Ukraine), in a separate entity called the Lubomirski Museum (inv. no. 8314) [see note 2]; 1939, consolidated by Soviet occupation forces into the Academy of Arts and Sciences of the USSR [see note 3]; June 28, 1941, taken by Kajetan Mühlmann (b. 1898 - d. 1958) and delivered to Hermann Göring for Adolf Hitler, Berlin [see note 4]; transferred to Alt Aussee [see note 5]; July 4, 1945, recovered by Allied forces and taken to the Munich Central Collecting Point (no. 2399/239) [see note 6]; May 26, 1950, returned to George (Jerzy) Rafal Lubomirski (b. 1887 - d. 1978), Geneva [see note 7]; sold by Lubomirski on the art market. 1952, Paul Drey, New York. 1959, P. & D. Colnaghi and Co., London; 1959, sold by Colnaghi to the MFA for £1,600. (Accession Date: September 17, 1959)
 M. Gebarowicz and Hans Tietze, Albrecht Dürers Zeichnungen im Lubomirski-Museum in Lemburg (Vienna, 1929), p. 9. Lubomirski's collection of thirty drawings attributed to Dürer appears in the draft of an inventory of his collection, drawn up in 1834. Before 1918, Przeworsk, where the collection was initially housed, was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
 In 1823, Henryk Lubomirski agreed to incorporate his collection of books, medals, paintings, and antiquities into the Ossolinski National Institute (founded by Józef Maksymilian Ossolinski in 1816). His objects were to be contained in a separate branch of the Institute called the Lubomirski Museum, and the rights of inheritance to remain in the family in an entailed estate (i.e., inheritance was to be limited to lineal descendants, who would be hereditary "literary curators"). The Przeworsk Entail did not gain imperial approval, however, until after an amended charter was submitted in 1866. It was approved in 1868; Jerzy Henryk Lubomirski inherited the estate in 1869, at which time the collection was transferred to the Museum in L'viv.
The conditions stipulated that union of the Lubomirski estate with the Ossolinski National Institute could be abrogated if the Institute were dissolved, its dedication of assets changed, or if it limited the rights granted to the literary curators. In such an event, the Museum would revert to the estate. If the union between Institute and Museum were dissolved, but the original conditions of the Institute were restored within 50 years, then the union would also be reinstated. If the entailed estate itself were abolished by the laws of the land, the collection was to become the unencumbered property of the heir's family.
 Poland regained its independence in 1918. In September 1939, Soviet troops invaded and annexed eastern portions of the country. The Ossolinski National Institute was nationalized by the Soviets (as were other private cultural institutions), effectively dissolving it, according to the definitions stipulated above (see n. 2).
 In 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union and L'viv (thereafter, Lemberg) was conquered. In July, Kajetan Mühlmann - the head of art confiscation in Poland and Holland for the Third Reich-seized the 25 drawings from the Lubomirski collection that were attributed at the time to Dürer. According to Mühlann's own statements, Göring ordered him to deliver the drawings to Berlin. They were given to Adolf Hitler, who had them in his possession until at least September of that year.
 During World War II, many works of art stored elsewhere by the Nazis were moved to the abandoned salt mines of Alt Aussee in Austria, where they would be safe from wartime bombing.
 Allied troops established collecting points where looted works of art could be identified for eventual restitution to their rightful owners. This drawing came into the Munich Central Collecting Point in 1945 from Alt Aussee (no. 1743/239), and was numbered 2399/239 (Bundesarchiv, Berlin, B323/653, Property Card no. 2399/239).
 Following World War II, L'viv once again became a part of the Soviet Union. In 1946, the Ossolinski Institute was reactivated in Wroclaw, Poland. According to a 1946 Polish law, entailed family estates--such as the Przeworsk Entail--were abolished.
Although neither Poland nor the Soviet Union claimed the Lubomirski Dürers after the war, George (Jerzy) Lubomirski, grandson of Henryk Lubomirski, submitted a restitution claim for them. U.S. military policy at the time was to restitute works of art not to individuals, but to the countries from which they were taken; the countries would return them to their owners. However, such a resolution was complicated by several factors: first, because L'viv was a part of the Soviet Union, a return of the Dürer drawings through the USSR was unlikely. Second, the Ossolinski Institute (and thus the Lubomirski Museum) was dissolved when it was nationalized in 1939. Third, although the Institute re-formed in Poland in 1946, the Przeworsk Entail (which itself was not situated in L'viv, but in Przeworsk, Poland) would have been forbidden by Polish law. Citing the dissolution of the estate with the Institute, and the reversion of the Museum collection to the Lubomirski estate, in 1950 the U. S. State Department authorized the return of the drawings to Prince George Lubomirski, who then sold them.
Claims for the group of Dürer drawings taken by Mühlmann have been made by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the City of L'viv, and by the Ossolinski National Institute, Wroclaw. The claims challenge the decision of the U.S. government to restitute the drawings to George Lubomirski in 1950.
For detailed discussions of the provenance and restitution of the Lubomirski Dürers, see Konstantin Akinsha and Sylvia Hochfeld, "Who Owns the Lubomirski Dürers?" ARTNews, October 2001, pp. 158-163 and the Ossalinski National Institute, The Fate of the Lubomirski Dürers (Wroclaw, 2004), passim.
Otis Norcross Fund