Monday, 11 June 2012

Seized Holocaust Art Sold- Already

It was in a public collection, loaned to another in the US, but then the US government unexpectedly seized it, awarded it to a private citizen, who then promptly sold it (Christine Bednarz, 'From Ruling to Auction: Looted Art Up For Sale', MutualArt/ Huffington Post, June 9, 2012). The painting was owned by the Pinacoteca di Brera Museum in Milan, but was loaned to the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science in Tallahassee, Florida. There it was noticed by a Christie's employee who notified the family that had unsuccessfully been claiming it back from the Italian government as heirs of the collector Federico Gentili di Giusepi. The US courts awarded it them in February this year, over the heads of the Italian government.

Girolamo Romanino's Christ Carrying the Cross (circa 1538)  was sold in Christie's New York June 6th Old Masters Auction, although the estimate was $2.5-3.5 million, the painting sold for $4,562,500. The Huffington Post reports that the family can now use this money "to pay the lawyer bills".  Christies made quite a bit out of the commission however; according to The Telegraph, the family so far managed to reclaim 20 paintings from Federico Gentili di Giusepi's collection, but are still searching for over 50 more. Perhaps Christies' can help them find some more in a position where they can be seized. 

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