Kandinsky painting that was auctioned during WWII is returned to Jewish heirs : NPR

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A precious painting by Russian master Wassily Kandinsky, who was forced to sell during World War II, was returned to the descendants of a former Jewish owner.

oil, Bildmit Häusern (Painting with Houses), It is one of the precious art collections inherited by Robert Löwenstein and his wife Irma Klein, and at one point also included works by Van Gogh, Renoir and Rembrandt. However, in October 1940, five months after the invasion of the Netherlands, they fled the Nazis and the two were auctioned off Kandinsky’s paintings.

According to records, the director of the Stedelijk Museum bought Kandinsky for only a fraction of its value at the time. Het Parool reports:

The 1909 paintings of figures in colorful and abstract landscapes are now estimated at over $ 20 million.

The transfer of Lewenstein to heirs on Monday puts an end to the nine-year controversy.

“As a city, we have a great responsibility to deal with the unspeakable suffering and injustice given to the Jews during World War II,” Amsterdam’s Deputy Mayor Turia Meliani said in a statement. rice field.

“To the extent that anything can be restored, our society has a moral obligation to act accordingly. This is certainly owned by Jewish citizens and plundered by the Nazis or otherwise lost. This applies to the work of art of the owner, “added Meliani.

The first attempt to regain millions of dollars of art was rejected by the Dutch Return Commission in 2018 after five years of investigation.Commission rules in case of ownership of relics looted during the Nazi occupation

The appeal of the 2020 decision also failed. But a year later, a second committee formed by the Dutch government decided to reassess the case. It led to a new discussion between the Lewenstein heirs and the municipality.

“Municipalities and heirs will return works of art that were unknowingly removed during World War II to the heirs of their then owners, if possible, due to circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime. In principle, I agree that the return is justified, “the museum said on Monday.

James Palmer of Mondex Corporation, who assists in the return negotiations, said: “”

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