Sooner or later, it’s all about IRAQ! 

It’s been a few months since ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq) became a household word and the debate about what the US should do about Iraq began—again. Then war between Israel and Hamas and the crash in Ukraine of Malaysia Flight #17 pushed Iraq off the front page for a while. But it’s back! With President Obama’s decision on air strikes, Iraq again became the crisis du jour. Or should I say the ISIS du jour?

Ok, Iraq is back in the news, but what makes it a Ripped From the Headlines topic for this blog? 

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This fall’s revelation that a trove of 1500 Nazi-looted paintings stayed for years in a Munich apartment spread shock waves around the world. Not only was this startling news for art scholars, curators and collectors. The political and legal aspects of the ongoing story are equally astounding, not the least being the fact that the German government raided Cornelius Gurlitt’s apartment and found the cache nearly two years ago. And no one leaked it. Probably the most amazing!    cornelius

One of the more interesting tidbits relates to the composition of the collection. Many works in it were those of so-called “degenerate” artists, including German Expressionists of the early 20th century, such as Grosz and Nolde, but also Chagall and Kandinsky. Despite Hitler’s scorn for them, his henchmen made sure they were swept into the looting parties, and a German exhibition in 1937 showcased them. They may not have been the Fuehrer’s taste, but more savvy and value-conscious connoisseurs such as Goering managed to take a few home.  Gurlitt’s father, a dealer to those fine clients, stashed plenty. What was leftover in his son’s lair is said to be worth more than $1 billion in today’s art marketplace.

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