The Victoria and Albert Museum has published online two volumes which record what the Nazi regime did with confiscated ‘degenerate art’. Hitler believed post-impressionist modern art, including Expressionists such as Kandinsky and Otto Dix, to be “evidence of a deranged mind”. He ordered more than 16,000 artworks, including works by Van Gogh and Man Ray, to be removed from German museums. The ledgers in the V&A reveal the fate of those artworks, many of which were destroyed.
The Entartete Kunst inventory, compiled in 1941-42, was donated to the V&A by the widow of Heinrich Robert (Harry) Fischer in 1996 and has since then been used by art researchers across the world to try and identify the provenance of particular paintings that went missing during the Nazi era. It forms part of the National Art Library Fischer Collection.
The inventory consists of 482 pages (including blank pages and a missing page), split into two volumes. The entries are organised alphabetically by city, institution and artist’s name. Volume 1 covers the cities Aachen to Görlitz, while Volume 2 covers Göttingen to Zwickau. Two other copies of an earlier version of Volume 1 are known to have survived the War, and these are now held by the German Federal Archives in Berlin