In my capacity as a lawyer, I was asked to help a family recover a stolen Holocaust painting. The case required much research. As part of my research I hired an art historian who assisted people in making claims to recover stolen Holocaust paintings. Through my research and dealing with the art historian I acquired unique knowledge regarding lost or stolen art.
In the end I determined I was not the right lawyer to pursue the case. But having done the research and been fascinated by it, I felt compelled to write this novel based in part on what I learned representing them.
Goya’s Ring and The Naked Maja Dancing is based on a series of actual events. The signature event took place at Karnzow Castle where the then owner was asked to hide stolen Holocaust art. I visited that Castle, met with the current owner and was given a private tour showing me where the art had been hidden. I also learned many things about the Castle that I incorporated into the novel.
Another important part of the book concerns Marano Jews who were the Crypto Conversos (false converts) of King Ferdinand’s Spain. I met with some descendants of Marano Jews while visiting Toledo in Spain and acquired a deep understanding of their history.
This novel strings together events that started in King Ferdinand’s time in 1492, Francisco Goya’s interrogation in 1808 before the Spanish Inquisition for having painted The Naked Maja (La Maja Desnuda) and the Nazi’s plundering of art stolen from Jews taken to the concentration camps.
Although my novel has elements of Woman in Gold and The Monuments Men, it’s an action adventure story more on the lines The Da Vinci Code and American Treasure.
Richard L. Katz