WWII looted Sisley returned to French owner

1945 18 June 2004

PARIS - A painting by the French-born British artist Alfred Sisley which disappeared from occupied Paris during World War II was returned to its rightful owner Friday in a ceremony in the city's law-courts.

"Spring sun, The Loing," a 1892 landscape depicting the river near the impressionist painter's home at Moret-sur-Loing southeast of Paris, was handed over to Pierre de Gunzburg, grandson of the collector Louis Hirsch.

The picture, which has been valued at about EUR 3 million (USD 3.6 million) was entrusted to the Argentinian embassy in Paris for sake-keeping in 1939 but disappeared in 1942 after German forces requisitioned the building.

It reappeared in Japan in 1990 when it was loaned by an anonymous collector for an exhibition of Sisley's works.

A judicial investigation was launched in Paris into "receiving stolen goods," and the picture was eventually handed over at the French embassy in Tokyo in March.
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