German museum gives painting to Jewish heirs

13th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 December 2006, Bremen, Germany (dpa) - A German museum has returned a 500-year-old painting to the heirs of its earlier Jewish owners, but will purchase it back so it can remain on public display, the Bremen Art Gallery said Wednesday. The painting, Madonna and Child, is attributed to the school of Venetian painter Bartolomeo Vivarini, dating from about 1470. The art gallery said that it was one of the many treasures that Jewish art collectors were forced to sell in 1930s Germany. The ban on Jews owning

13 December 2006

Bremen, Germany (dpa) - A German museum has returned a 500-year-old painting to the heirs of its earlier Jewish owners, but will purchase it back so it can remain on public display, the Bremen Art Gallery said Wednesday.

The painting, Madonna and Child, is attributed to the school of Venetian painter Bartolomeo Vivarini, dating from about 1470.

The art gallery said that it was one of the many treasures that Jewish art collectors were forced to sell in 1930s Germany. The ban on Jews owning art was one of the early Nazi acts of persecution.

On Monday night at a Berlin meeting with Jewish Claims Conference officials and museum chiefs, the German government affirmed its support for restitution of all the confiscated art. Currently about 100 artworks in German museums are subject to claims.

The government says it will redraw guidelines to make them clearer and assist smaller museums to research the provenance of collections.

The Bremen painting was returned to the heirs of the 1930s owners, Jacob and Rosa Oppenheimer. The northern city's art society agreed late Tuesday to repurchase it for 40,000 euros (52,400 dollars).

A gallery spokesman said this had been agreed with the heirs, and donors will now be sought in Bremen to finance the arrangement.

The gallery had bought Madonna and Child in 1935 at a Berlin auction where all the lots were forced sales.

Some critics have alleged that some of the 1930s art purchases which are being voided today were on fair commercial terms.

There was controversy in Germany this year when a 1913 painting, Street Scene, Berlin by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, was returned by a Berlin museum to the heirs of collector Alfred Hess and sold at New York auction last month for 38 million dollars.

DPA

Subject: German news

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