With the nazis taking over Germany and Europe, lots of artistic pieces were stolen or plainly lost during the messy years that followed WWII. That's the case of Dr. Hans Sachs, the jewish publisher of the magazine Das Plakat, which focused on the posters art that was so very popular in the interwar period. Since he was young and for over 30 years he started collecting posters from diverse authors that were later confiscated by the Gestapo and went through various owners to end up finally in the German Historical Museum. This collection gathered lots of high quality pieces that constitute a representative cross-section of the art of posters prior to 1920.
But in an historical ruling last week, Germany's top federal appeals court stated last week that the Berlin based museum must return to Sachs' son (who lives now in the U.S.) the thousands of rare posters that his father collected, saying that for the institution to keep them would be perpetuating the crimes of the Nazis. A total of 4,259 posters have been so-far identified as having belonged to Sachs' father, from a collection of 12,500 that his father owned, which include advertisements for exhibitions, cabarets, movies and consumer products, as well as political propaganda … all rare, with only small original print runs. It is not clear what happened to the remainder.
The posters in case are very rare and as such, a great example of the design work from the time. The style of some of the posters follow the german expressionism style (such as Der Blaue Reiter), mixed with political propaganda in some cases, and in others we can find clear influences of the suprematist style that was brewing at the time. Besides of being an historical statement regards rightful ownership of stolen works, it brings back in the spotlight these amazing posters that were an iconic reflection of their times.