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Thrift Store Treasure…Update

Remember the paintings my sister bought at a local thrift store for $8 a piece? (See last Monday’s blog.) Well, she took them to an appraiser who was so impressed with one of the paintings that he is calling in an authenticator for confirmation.

The painting in question appears to be signed by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. I had never heard of Rottluff, so I looked him up and was surprised by his biography.

Rottluff was born in 1884 in Germany. He was a painter, printmaker and sculptor.  His landscape and still life paintings are known for their insistence on pure primary colors, bold brush strokes and geometric forms. In 1930, his work was notoriously declared “degenerate” at an exhibition in Munich.

Degenerate art is a term coined by the Nazi’s to describe almost all modern art. Degenerate art was banned and artists like Rottluff were fired from teaching positions, were unable to exhibit or sell their work and forbidden even to paint.

Rottluff died in 1976 in Berlin. He is considered one of the most important of all German Expressionists.

Now, are you as excited as I am by the prospects of this painting?

If this painting is authentic, how in the world did it find its way into a church thrift store? Was it smuggled out of Germany during the war? My active imagination sees it hiding with its owner in a secret compartment under the floor of a house being searched by Nazi soldiers and then being carried on the back of its owner as they cross the border into safety. (Think of little Gretl riding piggy back on Captain Von Trapp in the final scene of The Sound of Music.)

A painting like this one by Rottluf was sold at auction for millions of dollars recently. Could this $8 thrift store purchase turn out to be worth millions of dollars?

To be continued…