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Series 7: 3. Henry Moore



The team investigate whether a small watercolour sketch could be by the British 20th-century sculptor Henry Moore. It is the only piece thought to be that of a British artist in a Nazi hoard of around 1,500 works discovered in Germany in 2012. Known as the Gurlitt hoard, it is now housed in the Museum of Fine Art in Bern, Switzerland. Every piece in the hoard has to be researched, as if it was art stolen or looted from Jewish families, it should be returned.\n\nFiona and Philip need to establish two things - firstly whether this a genuine work by Henry Moore or a whether it is a fake, And secondly, if it is genuine, how did a sketch by a British artist end up in a Nazi art hoard? The answer to this will decide its fate.\n\nThe film goes on a journey from prewar Britain, where the little-known Henry Moore was beginning to make waves as a daring and progressive sculptor, to Germany in the 1930s. In England Philip meets Henry Moore's only child Mary, hoping that she will offer some insights into the way her father worked, and he asks if she can see her father's hand in the sketch. He compares the sketch to other genuine works by Moore from the time and subjects it to forensic tests. Will this reveal the smoking gun that would firmly put the name Henry Moore to this small drawing?\n\nIn Germany, Fiona is on the provenance trail. She discovers that in the early 1930s, Hildebrand Gurlitt, the man who amassed this valuable hoard, was a forward-looking museum curator who encouraged the avant garde artists like Henry Moore. But this wasn't to last. In 1933 Hitler consolidated his power in Germany and set out to purge the country of any modern progressive art - or what the Nazi called degenerate art. Hildebrand Gurlitt lost his job but in an extraordinary transformation used his knowledge of the art Hitler hated to become one of four dealers allowed to sell degenerate art on the international market to make money for the Nazi regime. Could the sketch have been one that Hitler wanted to supress? And if so, how and when did Hildebrand Gurlitt get his hands on it? Fiona follows the trail to Berlin and to the Schonhausen Palace, where a lot of the so-called degenerate art was stored and viewed by the chosen few dealers. Could this have been where Hildebrand Gurlitt had the opportunity to buy the Moore sketch?\n\nWill the art investigators find enough evidence to convince the Henry Moore Review Panel that this is a genuine early work by Henry Moore? Will the outcome of the provenance search show that it was legitimately bought by Hildebrand Gurlitt and so can rightfully stay in the museum in Bern?

Source: BBC 1

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