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Lucian Simmons

Sotheby's Vice Chairman, Worldwide Head of Restitution and Senior Specialist, Global Fine Arts Department New York

The Lost Porcelain of
World War II:
Restitution and Ceramics

Monday, March 13, 2023

 2 PM ET via Zoom

Sponsored by Carol Lyden


Mantel clock, 1727, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Dresden, Germany), hard-paste porcelain, height: 17 3/8 in. (44.1 cm.), Rijksmuseum, Purchased with the support of de Vereniging Rembrandt, het Mondriaan Fonds, het Nationaal Aankoopfonds van het ministerie van OCW, de VriendenLoterij en de heer H.B. van der Ven, 2021 (BK-17437). Photo courtesy of the Rijksmuseum.

This lecture is presented in collaboration with The Greenwich Decorative Arts Society.

In this lecture Lucian Simmons will talk about the fate of many of the great ceramics collections of pre-war Europe.  He will touch on the Meissen collections of Franz and Margarete Oppenheimer and Hermine Feist as well as the encyclopedic collections of Emma Budge and the Rothschild family.  He will also discuss the role ceramics played in philanthropy and connoisseurship in Weimar Germany, giving examples from collections that he has researched.

Lucian Simmons is Sotheby's Vice Chairman, Worldwide Head of Restitution and Senior Specialist, Global Fine Arts Department New York.  He joined Sotheby’s in 1995. Mr. Simmons works extensively with art collectors and their advisors throughout North America and Europe. He has been involved in the sale of some of the most significant artworks to come to auction in recent years, including Onement VI by Barnett Newman (sold for $43.8 million in May 2013) and Bildnis Gertha Felsöványi by Gustav Klimt (sold for £24.8 million in June 2015). He has worked on restitution and provenance issues since 1997 and has been involved in the resolution of claims to artworks worth in excess of $850 million.

Mr. Simmons has a legal background, having been called to the Bar in 1984 and later re-qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Prior to joining Sotheby’s, he was a partner in the London City Law Firm of Barlow, Lyde and Gilbert. 

Mr. Simmons has spoken widely on art market issues and in particular on the displacement of art during WWII. He has been interviewed on the subject on television and radio and has appeared in a number of film documentaries. He gives regular seminars at universities and law schools across North America and has given evidence to the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport of the House of Commons, London, to the European Parliament, Brussels, and to the Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Assets.

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