Following in the wake of the success of The Monuments Men and Girl with a Pearl Earring, is this thrilling story of a courageous man who hunts down his family's art collection, stolen by the Nazis in WWII. The Orpheus Clock was one of the finest pieces in the Goodman collection, a mysterious Renaissance clock made by Wenzel Jamnitzer.
Simon Goodman’s grandparents came from one of the richest German-Jewish banking dynasties but, when Hitler rose to power, they were deported and died in extermination camps. Simon knew nothing about his grandparents’ fate and his father often refused to say what had really happened. Goodman discovered the truth by chance, after looking at family papers and documents, which is when it all began. Having become one of Germany’s wealthiest families, the Gutmanns (later Goodman) had amassed one of the richest art collections in Europe. Prosperous and powerful, they were among the first to suffer at the hands of Nazi cruelty and, from 1919 on, everything was systematically taken from them. As his father tried everything possible to recover the lost treasures, Simon was living in London, unaware of his family’s terrible history. Everything changed when his father died and diaries and papers came into his possession. Simon discovered the truth and decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, hunting down what the Nazis had stolen, works held privately and by famous museums. The first painting retrieved was a Degas in the hands of a Chicago billionaire. Goodman’s legal efforts to regain possession of the painting marked a turning point in the history of American legislation on the matter and many more masterpieces have since been daringly recovered: paintings by Renoir, Botticelli and Guardi, statues and Renaissance pieces, right down to a unique piece, a gold clock stolen by Goering, the Orpheus Clock.
In what is a real detective story, Simon Goodman traces and recovers the artworks after sifting through secret documents, bank transactions, contracts of sale signed by Nazi officers and conniving collectors, photographic collections and concentration-camp registers.