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Painting stolen by Nazis recovered, up for sale

United States America,Art/Culture/Books, Fri, 20 Apr 2012 IANS

Miami, April 20 (IANS/EFE) A Jewish family who this week recovered a 16th century painting stolen by the Nazis during World War II announced Thursday that they are putting the piece up for sale.


After months of litigation, the heirs of Federico Gentili di Giuseppe Wednesday recovered the painting entitled "Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged By A Rascal", which they had lost track of when part of the family fled Paris to escape the Nazis and the rest died in concentration camps.


To recover the painting, they had to meet US authorities, who confiscated the work taking advantage of the fact that the painting was among more than 50 pieces on loan from the Pinacoteca di Brera museum in Milan, Italy, to the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee, Florida.


Scarcely 24 hours passed since recovering the work before the heirs scheduled an auction, which will be organized by Christie's in New York June 6, the auction house said Thursday.


The work, valued by Christie's at between $2.5 million and $3.5 million, was painted around 1538 by Italian Renaissance artist Girolamo Romano, known as "Romanino".


The painting was bought by Gentili in 1914 at an auction in Paris. He died of natural causes in the French capital in 1940, a few months before the army of Nazi Germany invaded France.


Warned that Nazi occupation was imminent, his children and grandchildren escaped to Canada and the US, but the rest of his relatives could not flee and died in the concentration camps.


France's Vichy government in 1941 auctioned a part of Gentili's collection, including this painting.


When Gentili's grandchildren, who for years had been taking legal measures to try and recover their grandfather's works of art, became aware of the presence of the painting in the US, they alerted the authorities, who seized the work.






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