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France to return paintings stolen by Nazis to owners

Two of the paintings have been stored at the Louvre while awaiting reclamation
Two of the paintings have been stored at the Louvre while awaiting reclamation (cc) Flickr/Simo0082

The French minister of culture, Aurélie Filippetti, will return three paintings confiscated by the Nazis, to their real owners in a ceremony on Tuesday.


In line with special rules governing confiscated works of art, the three paintings have been exhibited in France while awaiting reclamation by their owners.

The three works are Paysage montagneux (mountain scene) by the Flemish painter Joos de Momper (1564-1635), Portrait de femme, (portrait of a woman) an oil painting dating from the 18th century and “Vierge à l’enfant” (virgin with child) painted in oil on wood, copied in the style of Lippo Memmi or an artist in his circle.

The Paysage Montagneux will be returned to baron Cassel van Doorn, a Belgian banker, who owned homes in France. Many of his possessions were confiscated in 1943.The painting, which might be part of a larger work, has been at the Dijon art museum since 1953.

Portrait de femme was stored in the Louvre in Paris. It is thought that it might be a copy of an earlier portrait by Louis Tocqué, of the actress Angélique Drouin.The painting belonged to Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer, who were art dealers in Berlin. It was sold in January 1935 as part of a public auction of property owned by Jewish people.

The Vierge à l’enfant was also stored in the Louvre. It had been seized by the Nazis in 1944 in Cannes, and has now been reclaimed by Ileana Florescu, the great granddaughter of banker Richard Soepkez.


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