(NEWSER) – Two life-size bronze horses commissioned to stand outside Adolf Hitler’s chancellery disappeared from their last known location in Germany in 1989. Some 25 years later, the masterpieces have been discovered in an illegal art bust, the Local reports.
After a year-long investigation, authorities conducting 10 raids across Germany yesterday found the “Walking Horses” by Josef Thorak in a warehouse in Bad Duerkheim, along with other Thorak works and a 33-foot granite relief by Arno Breker, the AP reports. They are now investigating eight people, aged 64 to 79, for art trafficking and handling stolen goods.
Triumphant Russian forces reportedly moved the horses in 1945 before they appeared on the sports grounds of a Red Army barracks in Eberswalde of the German Democratic Republic in 1950. They remained there for 38 years until a newspaper article by an art historian turned the spotlight back on the illustrious works. They soon disappeared.
The bronze horses lost some of their grandeur over the years as children played on them and their tails were broken and poorly reattached. They were also marred by bullet holes and painted gold at one point. Police haven’t described their current condition, but they were reportedly offered on the black market for as much as $5.6 million, per the Post.
I enjoyed this quote from the Post’s article:
Visual art of the 19th century was free of the Dadaism, surrealism and abstraction the Nazis viewed as degenerate. It was heroic. It was triumphant. And by the 1930s, it was a throwback. Thorak’s stuff fit right in.
Is there anything more heroic and triumphant than a horse? They add grandeur to every occasion and celebration.
Pictures of the captured horses. Click any image to enlarge and view slideshow.