How a Nazi became Hermann Goering’s art looter — then got rich in the US

The New York Post:

On the days that Hermann Goering was set to arrive at Paris’ Jeu de Paume museum for his private exhibitions, Bruno Lohse made sure that the champagne was always on ice. 

Lohse, a 28-year-old Nazi storm trooper with an athletic build and a Ph.D. in art history, was the art dealer for Goering, the second most powerful man in the Third Reich. Brash and ambitious, Lohse had “dazzled” Goering with his knowledge of 17th century Dutch painting at their first meeting on March 3, 1941. 

For Goering, Lohse was a refreshing change from the lackeys who usually surrounded him. A bon vivant and womanizer, Lohse once proclaimed himself the “King of Paris.” To the Nazi elite, he was better known as Goering’s personal “art bloodhound,” who satisfied his boss’ insatiable appetite for the world’s greatest treasures, writes Jonathan Petropoulos, author of “Goering’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World” (Yale University Press), out now. 

Goering was an obsessive collector, a lover of Old Masters and northern landscapes, whose lust for art became even more frantic after the Nazis invaded France in the summer of 1940. He had already acquired some of the greatest treasures in Holland, Czechoslovakia and Poland, but France offered the greatest temptations. 

During the war, Lohse gathered the most valuable paintings that had been stolen from Jewish collectors, and ostentatiously set them before Goering during his visits to the Jeu de Paume, which was used at the time as a warehouse for stolen art. 

Although Lohse knew to reserve the most important treasures for Adolf Hitler’s own private collection, Goering also got top picks during his 20 visits to the French museum. Thanks to Lohse, Goering loaded up his private train with Van Gogh’s “Pont de Langlois” in 1941 and scored Rembrandt’s “Boy with a Red Cap” the following year. Both paintings were stolen from the Rothschild banking family, who fled France after the Nazis stormed Paris. 

Read more at The New York Post

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