The Lord Mayor of the Stern Estate – Düsseldorf wants to settle the dispute that has been going on for years

Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf: Stephan Keller (CDU), Oberbürgermeister von Düsseldorf, steht vor dem Bild «Die Kinder des Künstlers» (1830) von Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow in der Ausstellung

Keller (CDU), Lord Mayor of Düsseldorf, has offered new talks to art dealer Max Stern’s Canadian estate administrators to settle a dispute that has raged on for years.

Keller also apologized for the cancellation of the show by his predecessor Geisel (SPD), while presenting the exhibition “Demanded and Robbed. Art Dealer Max Stern”. The controversy that has arisen since 2017 was “regrettable” and was to be treated as an insult. After several postponements, the controversial Max Stern exhibition will be presented to the public for the first time in Düsseldorf on Thursday.

dispute not yet resolved

In 2017 there was a controversy which led to the withdrawal of Canadian experts from the “Max Stern Art Restoration Project” exhibition. The top of the city, under then-Mayor Geisel, surprisingly canceled the presentation and justified it with current requests for information and reinstatement. This left Canadian Stern experts feeling duped personally and professionally. He also refused to participate in the exhibition, which has since been revamped. The Düsseldorf Jewish community is also not included.

Keller hopes for “secure legal ground”

Düsseldorf’s current mayor, Keller, has now said he is “ready to start new talks”. These have to be operated on a secure legal basis. He hopes that with the end of the exhibition, it is time to enter into an exchange with the Max Stern Art Restoration Project. In the Canadian project, three universities are researching works of art from the collection. Since then more than 20 works have been returned to museums and through the art trade.

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Max Stern makes a successful fresh start in Canada

The debate about the two reinstatement cases still pending regarding Max Stern is a serious issue. One of the paintings in question – “The Artist’s Children” (1830) by Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow – is shown at the exhibition. A restoration request has been submitted for work from the Max Stern Art Restoration Project. Max Stern was forced by the Nazis to close his Düsseldorf gallery in 1937. He managed to escape to Paris and London and immigrated to Canada in 1941, where he made a successful fresh start.

This message was broadcast on Deutschlandfunk on August 31, 2021.

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