LONDON (AP) — A painting by Wassily Kandinsky, who spent decades in a Dutch museum after its Jewish owner was murdered in the Holocaust, has sold for £37.2 million ($44.9 million) at auction.
“Murnau mit Kirche II” (“Murnau with Church II”) set a record price for a Russian artist at auction at Sotheby’s in London on Wednesday night. Completed in 1910, the brightly colored landscape of a Bavarian village foreshadows the bold abstract imagery of Kandinsky’s later work.
Eindhoven’s Van Abbe Museum last year returned the painting to descendants of German Jewish art collectors Johanna Margarete Stern and Siegbert Samuel Stern.
Siegbert Stern died in 1935, and Johanna was forced to flee Nazi Germany and move to Amsterdam, where she sold much of her collection. She was arrested after the Nazi occupation of Holland and she died in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.
Proceeds from the sale will be split among the 13 surviving Stern family heirs, according to Sotheby’s, to fund further research into the fate of the family’s collection.
In 2013, a Dutch museum identified 139 works of art as Nazi booty, including paintings by masters such as Kandinsky, Henri Matisse and Paul Klee.
In 2021, the city of Amsterdam agreed to return another Kandinsky painting, Painting With Houses, to the heirs of the Jewish family that originally owned it. The city purchased his 1940 auction and was displayed in the Municipal Museum of Modern Art.
Lucian Simmons, Sotheby’s head of repatriation, said this year marked the 25th anniversary of the 1998 international conference on looted art in Washington, and that previous efforts to return looted art had been underway. It said it was found not to work well enough.
“Since then, Sotheby’s restitution department has worked with many heirs and families to reunite stolen property, while also retelling their stories and helping them celebrate their lives,” Simmons said. Told.
Another restored work, Edvard Munch’s Dance on the Beach, sold for £16.9 million ($20.50) at the same Sotheby’s auction.
This gigantic painting was one of several designed for theater impresario Max Reinhardt and purchased by Norwegian shipowner Thomas Olsen in the 1930s.
Olsen hid a large collection of Munch’s works during the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II, including a version of his most famous painting The Scream.
Sotheby’s said the painting was sold “under an agreement” between the Olsen and Glazer families.
https://wgnradio.com/news/entertainment-news/ap-looted-kandinsky-work-restored-to-jewish-heirs-fetches-45m/ A looted Kandinsky work was returned to a Jewish heir and sold for $45 million. WGN Radio 720