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

Ratfish generates social media buzz on Vancouver Island

Boneless, glowing creature a common bycatch, but it usually stays in deep waters – fish expert

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

North Cowichan will host new permanent rowing centre starting October 2020

Saanich’s bid for national rowing centre at Elk Lake sunk

Unhappy Nanaimo council wants action on troubled supportive housing project

Residents point to a lack of safety and security in the neighbourhood

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Hamilton, Ont. rock band the Trews performs at the Nanaimo’s Port Theatre

Group recently released first record in four years, ‘Civilianaires’

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Most Read