The Uffizi Gallery in Florence. (Wikimedia Commons)

Art gallery director urges Germany to return painting stolen by Nazis

The oil painting had been hanging as part of the Pitti Palace collection in Florence from 1824 until the outbreak of World War II

The director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is urging Germany to return a Dutch masterpiece stolen by Nazi troops during World War II, dramatizing its absence by hanging a black and white photo of the work with the label “Stolen” in three languages.

Eike Schmidt said in a New Year’s appeal on Tuesday that the still-life “Vase of Flowers” by Dutch artist Jan van Huysum is in the hands of a German family who hasn’t returned it despite numerous appeals. Instead, intermediaries for the family have demanded payment for its return to Italy.

“The painting is already the inalienable property of the Italian State, and thus cannot be ‘bought,”’ Schmidt said.

The oil painting had been hanging as part of the Pitti Palace collection in Florence from 1824 until the outbreak of World War II. It was moved for safety during the war but was stolen by retreating German troops. It didn’t surface again until Germany’s reunification in 1991, when the offers to sell it back to Italy began.

“This story is preventing the wounds inflicted by World War II and the horrors of Nazism from healing,” said Schmidt, who is German. “Germany should not apply the statute of limitations to works of art stolen during the war, and it should take measures to ensure that those works are restored to their legitimate owners.”

He called it Germany’s “moral duty” to return to the artwork, adding, “I trust that the German government will do so at the earliest opportunity, naturally along with every other work of art stolen by the Nazi Wehrmacht.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Wet conditions put the brakes on Vancouver Islander’s speed record bid

Sooke car enthusiast Sean Driver heading back to Bonneville in October

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealand trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

CAMERON: Sometimes you’ve just got to do the right thing

Practical jokes and the art of being fast on your feet

T.W. Paterson column: McLean brothers’ murderous rampage ended quietly

“Shoot! you son of a ——-, shoot! I’m not afraid of an ounce of lead.”

Tour de Rock riders on bikes to race Nanaimo firefighters on old-fashioned pump car

Cops for Cancer fundraiser will happen Sept. 30 as annual fundraising ride getting underway

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Most Read