Painting Stolen by Nazis Returned to Estate of Jewish Art Dealer

Wilhelm von Schadow, self portrait. Photo: courtesy Concordia University, Montreal.
Wilhelm von Schadow, self portrait. Photo: courtesy Concordia University, Montreal.

Germany is returning a rare self-portrait of German Romantic painter Wilhelm von Schadow to the estate of Max Stern, the Globe and Mail reports. The German-Canadian art dealer was forced to sell hundreds of pieces to the Nazis at a loss before fleeing to Canada in 1937.

An early member of the Nazarene movement, von Schadow was the director of the Dusseldorf Academy of the Arts from 1826 to 1859. The self portrait in question was sold by the Lempertz auction house in Cologne in 1937. The auction house later sold the painting to the the Dusseldorf City Museum in 1972, neglecting to include the painting’s tainted provenance in the sale catalogue.

The painting is the twelfth work to be recovered by the Max Stern Art Restitution Project at Montreal’s Concordia University. Researchers only discovered the painting’s whereabouts in 2012, thanks to a 1976 museum catalogue. Following negotiations, the city agreed to give the piece back.

The mayor of Dusseldorf will hand over the painting to Canada’s German ambassador at the museum today.


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