Bettina Burr, granddaughter of Baron and Baroness Alphonse and Clarice de Rothschild, a volunteer tour guide for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, is donating a significant share of her family’s treasures to the museum, according to the New York Times.
Around 80 items, including those that were looted by the Nazis and returned to the Rothschild family, are going on display in a special exhibition “Restoring a Legacy: Rothschild Family Treasures.” Along with striking paintings, valuable jewelry and rare furniture are descriptions of the history of each piece. The pieces were returned to the family in several phases, while some artwork has been lost forever. In 1947, Ms. Burr’s grandmother traveled to Austria’s salt mines to recover paintings and other family treasures that were found by the Allied forces. Fourteen objects on display were designated by Hitler for the Fuhrer Museum.
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There were some obstacles to bringing many of these objects to America. The Austrian government forced the family to donate objects to the state before others were allowed to be sent overseas. Other works were not returned to the family until the National Restitution passed in Austria in 1998. Other objects still cannot be transferred from Austria until Mrs. Burr’s death.
The exhibition demonstrates “the Rothschild taste” on a collection that began in the mid-19th century with Baron Nathaniel von Rothschild and his brother Albert. However, many items have been lost to history. “There are still pieces in the wild blue yonder, ” Burr told the New York Times, “They are impossible to find.”