Selling Nazi looted art in Austria

April 23 2017

Image of Selling Nazi looted art in Austria

Picture: Im Kinsky

In The Guardian, Kate Connolly reports that an Austrian auction house, Im Kinsky, are openly selling a painting that is known to have been looted by the Nazis. The picture, by Bartholomäus van der Helst, was stolen during the war from the collection of the heirs of Adolphe Schloss in Paris. The auciton house say that under Austrian law, the current owners (who bought it in 'good faith' from an art dealer in Austrian in 2003) are not obliged to return the painting to the Schloss heirs. Which seems extraordinary, and for a painting valued at €15k-€30k you have to wonder why the owners don't do the decent thing. The painting is not likely to fetch much, for it can't in practice be taken outside Austria - other countries have far more stringent laws on looted pictures.

It's curious there's not an EU wide standard on these matters. But that's an unfashionable thing to say these days.

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