Shalom Life | October 18, 2015

'El Greco' Portrait Looted by the Nazis Returned to Rightful Owners

Famous painting returned to heirs of Jewish Viennese industrialist who fled Austria in March, 1938

By: ShalomLife Team

Published: March 24th, 2015 in News » World

Photo: El Greco's 'Portrait of a Gentleman'


The Commission for Looted Art in Europe, representing the rightful owners, and Art Recovery International, representing the art gallery which acquired the looted painting in 2010, are pleased to announce the restitution of El Greco’s ‘Portrait of a Gentleman’ to the heirs to the collection of Julius Priester, a notable Viennese industrialist who fled Vienna in March 1938.

In 1944 ‘Portrait of a Gentleman’ was seized by the Gestapo in Vienna, as was the entire Julius Priester collection, as part of the large-scale expropriation and persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazis in Vienna after the Anschluss with Germany in 1938.

Extensive investigations were instigated immediately after the end of the war in 1945 by Julius Priester, who also ensured that there was international publicity about the identity of his missing paintings. The investigations have continued over the decades since his death, taken up by his family and heirs to the collection, and latterly by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe.

It was established that the El Greco painting had been sent from Vienna to a dealer in New York in 1951 who passed it on to a well-known New York dealer who passed it on to a well-known London dealer and from there eventually to a private owner in Switzerland in 2003. The identity of the owner was masked by a trust which did not respond to any communications. In June last year the painting was identified for sale in New York where it was on commission from another London dealer and a claim was immediately made by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe.

Settlement was reached quickly, the evidence being conclusive, and the painting has now been returned to its rightful owners.

Speaking this morning, Anne Webber, Co-Chair of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, said:

“The story of the seizure and trade of this painting over a period of more than 60 years shows how much the art trade has been involved in the disposal of Nazi-looted art and how difficult it is for those who have been dispossessed to find and recover their property, however well publicised their losses. We are pleased that the dealer with whom the painting ultimately resurfaced was immediately aware of the significance of the case and willing to enable the painting’s return.”

Christopher A. Marinello, CEO of Art Recovery International, added, “This case proves that equitable restitution of looted works is attainable. Without the strength and precision of the historic claim on one side and the compliance and co-operation of the gallery on the other, this would never have been possible. ”

Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records TrendingMother Reunites with Daughter after Being Separated by the Nazis for 71 Years Mother Reunites with Daughter after Being Separated by the Nazis for 71 Years TrendingAnti-Semitic Graffiti Attacks Take Over Texas Anti-Semitic Graffiti Attacks Take Over Texas Trending
 

This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram

August 27, 2015 | By Sy Berg
This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram

2HipJews are putting the 'modern' back into modern Orthodox

Read More

Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye

August 27, 2015 | By Shalom Life Staff
Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye

After nearly 7 years, we are sadly ending Shalom Life's run.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

August 26, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

Tony Kushner's family drama challenges it's audiences on so many levels, it leaves you breathless and beaten. It is awesome; astounding, humbling, overwhelming and remarkable.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review- The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berhnardt

August 23, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review- The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berhnardt

This powerful play based on a true story is an absolute must-see this summer.

Read More

Top 10 Most Influential LGBT Jews

August 14, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 10 Most Influential LGBT Jews

These 10 LGBT celebrities are an inspiration to us all.

Read More

Crossfit “Guru” Does Handstand at Holocaust Memorial

August 14, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
Crossfit “Guru” Does Handstand at Holocaust Memorial

Dave Driskell apologized Monday evening for his actions

Read More

There’s a Jewish Rapper with a #1 Hit Record, and His Name’s Not Drake

August 14, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
There’s a Jewish Rapper with a #1 Hit Record, and His Name’s Not Drake

Lil Dicky's 'Professional Rapper' sells 22,000 copies in its first week

Read More

Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records

August 14, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records

Reports indicate that some 78,000 travelers passed through the Israeli airport in a single day

Read More

More Headlines