Cleveland art museum pays heirs for Nazi-confiscated drawing

JTA 28 May 2013

The Cleveland Museum of Art paid the heirs of an artwork believed to have been confiscated by the Nazis to keep the drawing in its collection.

Director David Franklin said the museum paid what he called “fair market value” to the heirs of Arthur Feldmann for the drawing “Allegory of Christian Faith,” by the 17th century German artist Johann Liss, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported over the weekend.

The museum purchased the drawing from London art dealer Herbert Bier in 1953, the museum said on its website.

The Gestapo, or Nazi state secret police, confiscated Feldmann’s collection of about 750 Old Master drawings. Feldmann died in 1941, two years after he was arrested by the Nazis in Brno, now in the Czech Republic, according to the museum. Feldman’s wife died in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

According to the museum, the drawing was known to be in Feldmann’s collection from at least 1929.

“I would like to express our delight that this drawing is remaining in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art,” Uri Peled, a grandson of Feldmann, said in a statement on behalf of the heirs. “We are sure that our grandfather would have wanted the drawing to be available to the public and for future research.”

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