Vermeer will not be restituted

March 20 2011

Image of Vermeer will not be restituted

Picture: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (detail).

Authorities in Austria have ruled that the heirs of Jaromir Czernin cannot claim ownership of Vermeer's Art of Painting. The picture was bought in 1940 by Hitler for his Fuehrermuseum in Linz for 1.6m Reichsmarks, about $660,000 at the time. Despite the fact that Czernin was a member of the Nazi Party, and had written to Hitler after the sale saying, 'I ask that you accept my sincere thanks. Wishing that this picture may bring you, my Führer, joy always, I greet you, my Führer, with the German salute, as your devoted Count Jaromir Czernin-Morzin", Czernin's descendants claimed the sale was forced.

More on the latest developments here. A fuller history of the case is set out here

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