CBC 17 March 2005
MONTREAL - The heirs of a Dutch art dealer are trying to recover a painting hanging in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. They say it was part of a collection looted by Nazis.
The museum says the work, called The Deification of Aeneas, will remain on its walls until it can be determined whether it was sold legitimately.
The museum bought the 17th-century painting by French artist Charles Le Brun in 1953 in New York.
It was once part of a collection owned by Dutch art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, who died in 1940. His collection of more than 1,000 paintings was looted by the Nazis.
Eventually the Dutch government recovered 235 of the paintings and sold them, with the permission of Goudstikker's widow.
But other paintings from the collection also have been sold. Heirs of the collector have been trying to recover these works for years.
"Our view is that it is appropriate for those who find Nazi-looted works in their collections, particularly fine museums, to return them to the families of the victims," says Larry Kaye, lawyer for the heirs of the Dutch dealer.
On Wednesday, the Israel Museum returned a drawing by French artist Edgar Degas to Marei von Saher, Goudstikker's daughter-in-law.
The drawing was identified as Goudstikker's after a joint investigation by the museum and von Saher's representatives.
The Montreal Museum says it is trying to get more information about The Deification of Aeneas from the Dutch government. It says its records show the Dutch government purchased the painting legally from the family of the dealer. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2005/03/17/paintingMO050317.html