A few weeks ago, at Chapman University, we screened the compelling film
Woman in Gold
, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. On Tuesday, October 13, we are fortunate to have with us the real life attorney, E. Randol Schoenberg, portrayed by Reynolds in the film. The case which Mr. Schoenberg won for his client, Maria Altmann, before the U.S. Supreme Court was a landmark legal decision in its own right. It also points beyond itself to the complex and controversial world of looted art and stolen cultural heritage. Stated succinctly by my colleague, Dr. Julye Bidmead, it leads us to the fundamental question:
Who owns the past?

Woman in Gold Klimt Portrait
We are honored that Mr. Schoenberg will speak on
Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Fish Interfaith Center
about the legal battle to recover the Adele Bloch-Bauer portrait and other paintings stolen by the Nazis. That same day, at 3 p.m., several Chapman University professors, each a highly respected scholar in his or her discipline, will share their expertise on the theme of looted art and stolen cultural heritage. Sometimes deliberately destroyed, often treated as the spoils of war, works of art have been bought, traded, or sold for profit, their provenance forged or falsified, and the culture and context in which they were created forgotten, lost, or ignored.

Great museums, of which we are fortunate to have many, bring us as close as we may ever come to seeing, appreciating, and learning about the creativity of our own time and of times long past. Works of art educate, inspire, and change the ways we see ourselves and our world; our past and our possibilities. Sometimes, as we will learn at Tuesday’s panel presentations and lecture, they ask us not only to see them but to speak for them, asking the questions they cannot:
To whom do they belong? To whom does the past belong?

Panel presentation: 3 – 4:45 p.m. Argyros Forum, Room 209
(seating is limited)

Collecting Artifacts: The Illicit Antiquities Market in Israel

Dr. Julye Bidmead, Department of Religious Studies,
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Antiquities, Looting, and Warfare from the Second World War to Syria

Dr. Justin Walsh, Department of Art,
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Nationalization or Looting? Responses to the Bolshevik Confiscation of Art Between the Wars

Dr. Wendy Salmond, Department of Art,
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

From the “Woman in Gold” to the Manuscripts in Gold: The Precedent of Holocaust Litigation

Professor Michael Bazyler, Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Dr. Jennifer Keene, Department of History,
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

from Dr. Richard Hovannisian, Chancellor Fellow, Chapman University,
and Professor Emeritus of History, UCLA

Lecture 7 p.m. Wallace All Faiths Chapel, Fish Interfaith Center

Stolen by the Nazis: Recovering “The Woman in Gold” and Other Paintings
E. Randol Schoenberg, Of-Counsel and Co-founding Partner, Burris, Schoenberg & Walden;
President, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Admission is free. No tickets/reservations required.
Reserved seating is available for groups of 10 or more.
Contact Ashley Bloomfield at (714) 532-7760 or ambloom@chapman.edu to make group reservations.