Nazi-era stolen painting returned to Jewish owners′ descendants | News | DW | 03.07.2019

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Nazi-era stolen painting returned to Jewish owners' descendants

Gaston Prosper Levy's family had to wait more than six months to get the painting after it was found in a German art collection. Activists suspect there may be many more stolen artworks in the collection.

Germany on Wednesday returned a painting stolen by the Nazis to the descendants of its original Jewish owners.

Culture Minister Monika Grütters welcomed the return of "Quai de Clichy," by French neo-impressionist Paul Signac, to Gaston Prosper Levy's family during a handover ceremony in Berlin.

It "was a step toward historical justice," Grütters said, adding that "the pain and injustice caused could never be put right."

Levy fled Nazi-occupied France in 1940. Occupying soldiers are believed to have looted his art collection shortly before his escape.

Read more: Germany returns Nazi-looted painting to Jewish heirs

Provenance Research Gurlitt, an activist group, identified the painting as stolen Jewish property in October 2018.

The work was found among the 1,500 pieces of artwork owned by the late German art collector Cornelius Gurlitt. His father, Hilderbrand Gurlitt, was an art salesman in the Nazi era.

The painting was discovered when German police were investigating a tax case at Gurlitt's home in Munich in 2012.

Provenance Research Gurlitt  suspect that a large number of paintings in the collection were stolen from Jewish owners.

"Quai de Clichy" is the sixth to be returned since the project began. "Countless, mostly Jewish art-collectors like Gaston Prosper Levy were persecuted, stolen from or dispossessed by the NSDAP,” Grütters said.

jns/amp (AP, dpa)

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