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News release

Nazi-looted painting pulled from auction in Germany and returned to Canadian and Israeli University heirs

Numerous works from Max Stern Collection still circulating in Cologne-Düsseldorf corridor

Berlin, October 29, 2013 – Following repeated attempts at collaboration with various members of the German art trade over more than a decade, one auction house has assisted with the return of a painting to the Estate of Dr. Max Stern - the German-Canadian art dealer of Jewish heritage. 

At a news conference held this morning at the Canadian Embassy in Germany (Berlin), Concordia University (Montreal, Canada), acting on behalf of the executors of the estate and its three university beneficiaries (Concordia, McGill University/Montreal, Hebrew University/Jerusalem) announced the restitution of Scandinavian Landscape by Andreas Achenbach (1815-1910) – founder of the German Realist school and considered the father of nineteenth-century German landscape painting.

Scandinavian Landscape - Andreas Achenbach (1815-1910)Scandinavian Landscape - Andreas Achenbach (1815-1910)

In the presence of Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, Canadian Ambassador to Germany and Uwe Hartmann, Director of Germany’s Office for Provenance Research, estate representatives unveiled the painting – one of hundreds sold by force in the infamous 1937 sale no.392 by Lempertz Auction House in Cologne.

Some seventy five years later, the Achenbach work was again destined for the auction block in Cologne - this time at Van Ham Fine Art Auctions - when researchers at the Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, a government-supported agency that runs the Lost Art Internet Database, identified it as an exact match for a Stern painting listed with Interpol. The Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO) of the New York State Department of Financial Services, partners in the Max Stern Art Restitution Project, contacted Van Ham and worked closely to resolve the matter.

“We are grateful to Van Ham and the HCPO for facilitating the return of this painting”, says Concordia President, Alan Shepard. “Our close ties with European and American restitution agencies, together with sustained diplomatic efforts, continue to demonstrate that international collaboration is vital to addressing looted art claims.”

Plundered Cultures, Stolen Heritage conference
As part of its ongoing commitment to Holocaust remembrance and restitution issues, on November 6 and 7, Concordia University, with major support from the Government of Canada, will host a conference titled Plundered Cultures, Stolen Heritage which will focus on the targeting of culture during mass atrocities. Canada is the current chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an organization that positions the support of political and social leaders behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Stern family art business. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum of Rollins College, Florida is now hosting the exhibition - Auktion 392: Reclaiming the Galerie Stern, Düsseldorf


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