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German Museum Repurchases Camille Pissarro Painting Looted by Nazis

German Museum Repurchases Camille Pissarro Painting Looted by Nazis

Thursday, 21 October, 2021 - 06:00
Gallery assistants pose with an artwork entitled Gelee Blanche, Jeune Paysanne Faisant Du Feu by Danish-French artist Camille Pissarro at Sotheby's Galleries in central London on January 29. Photo: AFP

Berlin's Alte Nationalgalerie museum on Monday handed back and repurchased a painting by French Impressionist Camille Pissarro looted by the Nazis during the World War II from the collection of a Jewish lawyer, according to AFP.

Representatives of the lawyer Armand Dorville family signed an agreement for the museum to return and buy back "Une Place a la Roche-Guyon" ("A Square in La Roche Guyon"), part of the Berlin institution's permanent collection.

"I am very grateful to Armand Dorville's heirs for making it possible for us to purchase the work for the Alte Nationalgalerie and for coming to Berlin especially for this purpose," said Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK).

He did not reveal how much the museum had paid for the painting but said the family wanted it to remain on public display. Painted in 1867, "A Square in La Roche Guyon" was acquired by Armand Dorville in Paris in 1928. After moving to the south of France, Dorville died in 1941 and his collection was distributed to museums and private collectors.

The family was unable to flee occupied France and most members were killed by the Nazis, who occupied the country from 1940-1944. Several close relatives of Dorville's brother Charles perished at Auschwitz. The Alte Nationalgalerie acquired "A Square in La Roche Guyon" from a London gallery in 1961.

The Nazis stole thousands of artworks from Jewish families during World War II and their restitution has been a slow process, involving legal battles and complex searches.

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