he was at the home of an antique dealer

A little historical thriller, a little international spystory, a mystery that lasted over 70 years that now ends with a happy ending. The Carabinieri of the Monza Cultural Heritage Protection Unit have found the painting Loth avec ses deux filles lui servant à boire attributed to the French artist Nicolas Poussin (Les Andelys 1594 – Rome 1665). It had been stolen in 1944 by German soldiers from a French-Jewish apartment in Poiters and since then none of the heirs have been able to find it. The investigations began a year ago, on May 25, after a complaint from the lawyer of a 95-year-old Swiss and a 65-year-old American, who produced substantial documentation on the ownership of the work. In the reports we read that already on February 22, 1946, their family members had already started the research involving the Commission de Récupération Artistique which dealt with the works stolen in France by the Nazis.

A milestone of this commitment is the inclusion of the painting, in 1947, in the publication Répertoire des biens spoliés en France durant la guerre 1939-1945, drawn up by the French Bureau Central des Restitutions. In 2017 the canvas had arrived at an Emilian antiquarian who had exhibited it at an exhibition-market in Brussels. The real owner, however, was a Milanese colleague who in 2019 had brought him to Holland for a fair and here an expert had recognized him as one of the works contained in the Répertoire. The carabinieri painstakingly reconstructed the passages up to a house in the province of Padua belonging to the Milanese antiquarian, whose painting was seized for restitution to its legitimate owners.

Last updated: Friday 2 April 2021, 08:02



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