Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jewish estate shows 2 Nazi forced-sale paintings

BERLIN – Two paintings that the Nazis forced a Jewish art dealer to sell off in the 1930s have been returned to his estate, and its heirs said Wednesday they were working hard to recover hundreds more.

The ordeal shows just how painstaking the restitution process remains, even 10 years after the world pledged to work toward returning the estimated 250,000 to 600,000 pieces of art looted by the Nazis to their rightful owners.

The Max Stern estate is working to recover all the estimated 400 works sold off from Stern's collection between 1935 and 1937, estate representative Clarence Epstein said Wednesday.

The returned paintings were put on display — "Flight from Egypt" by the circle of Jan Wellens de Cock and "Girl from the Sabine Mountains" by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. The latter was a copy. Both paintings will be loaned to art museums in Canada for display.

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