Israel Museum gives back Degas looted by the Nazis

Haaretz 16 March 2005

The Israel Museum has returned a drawing by French artist Edgar Degas, confiscated by the Nazis, to the family of its owner, the museum announced.

The drawing, "Four Nude Female Dancers Resting," was returned to Marei von Saher, the daughter-in-law of Dutch art dealer Jacques Goudstikker. The Nazis took the drawing from Goudstikker in 1940.

The drawing was identified as Goudstikker's after a joint investigation by the museum and von Saher's representatives, the museum said in a statement.

"The Israel Museum takes very seriously the challenging subject of restitution of works of art taken improperly during World War II," said James Snyder, a museum director.

Von Saher praised the museum for its cooperation.

"It is heartening to see one of the world's leading museums do the right thing," the statement quoted her as saying. "My family lost so much in the war."

Goudstikker's granddaughter said in a statement issued in New York that the family will continue to pursue the return of stolen works of art.

"We feel it is time to let the public know what we are doing," said Charlene von Saher, who is Marei von Saher's daughter. "We have the best researchers and the best lawyers on our side, and I look forward to the day when my grandfather's legacy will be completely restored."

According to the museum, the research revealed that the drawing surfaced for auction in 1941 and changed ownership several times before it was donated to the Israel Museum in 1970.
© website copyright Central Registry 2023