Belgium’s fine arts museum has given a painting back to the descendants of an heir who was robbed by Nazi Germany before World War II.
‘Blumenstilleben,’ (Still Life with Flowers) painted in 1913 by German artist Lovis Corinth, was among dozens of artworks stolen by the Nazis from Gustav and Emma Mayer. They fled Frankfurt in 1938 to Belgium, where they settled down in the UK.
After the war, the painting of pink flowers in a blue vase was exhibited in Belgium’s Royal Museums of Fine Arts because the authorities at the time failed to establish the original owner.
In 2008 the museum invited the public for information on the painting. It was then contacted eventually by a lawyer representing descendants of the Mayers. The Belgian government promised to return the artwork to the couple’s grandchildren last year. The painting was finally taken down by museum workers on Thursday. They then wheeled it to the family.
“They are very happy. I’m sure it’s a very emotional moment for them,”According to Ouest France., Imke Gielen was the lawyer.
Museum Director Michel Draguet told Deutsche Welle: “I think it’s really important also for the museum to show that we have an ethic and we are dealing with history.”
Last month, the French parliament approved the return of 15 paintings, including Gustav Klimt’s ‘Rosiers sous les arbres’ (Rose Bushes under the Trees) and Marc Chagall’s ‘Le Pere’ (The Father), to the heirs of Jewish families who had their property looted by the Nazis.
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