WW1 restitution for France

April 22 2014

Image of WW1 restitution for France

Picture: TAN

Martha Lufkin in The Art Newspaper reports that a French museum has successfully reclaimed a painting taken by the German army during World War One:

The painting [Apres La Lecture,* above, by Alix Marie de La Perelle-Poisson] was stolen from the musée de la Chartreuse in Douai in September 1918, during an emergency evacuation by the German army of its collections to Valenciennes. Deemed “disappeared”, the work was listed among the war damages suffered by the museum in the First World War. Provenance researchers in Germany connected Après la lecture, which was donated by a private collector to the Alte Nationalgalerie in 1959, with the work lost by Douai and the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage, Berlin returned the painting after conservation.

As I've written before, here and here, French museums are ace at launching restitution claims from long ago. But should we now think about imposing a time limit on restitution?

* Hardly the most scintillating picture, you'd have to say.

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