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Upstate NY Museum 'Upset' to Discover Painting's Origin

A Nazi-looted painting stolen from Jewish family somehow ended up at the Arkell Museum
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2019 10:35 AM CDT
Updated Oct 27, 2019 2:43 PM CDT
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"Winter" by the artist Gari Melchers.   (US Attorney's Office via AP)

(Newser) – A painting stolen by the Nazis from a Jewish family in the year Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany has been found hiding in plain sight: on the wall of a museum in upstate New York. US industrialist Bartlett Arkell bought the painting—Winter by American artist Gari Melchers—from a New York City gallery in 1934 before it came to be included in the Arkell Museum collection in Canajoharie, reports the BBC. The museum has waived all rights to the painting, however, after it was last month discovered to be an artwork seized from German-Jewish publisher Rudolf Mosse, who'd purchased it at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition of 1900.

Mosse served as publisher of the newspaper Berliner Tageblatt, which was openly critical of the Nazi party. It was for that reason that Mosse fled Germany under persecution in 1933. Nazis then seized his entire art collection, which heirs have been trying to recover since 2017. Deutsche Welle reports their work with the Free University Berlin has already "resulted in the restitution of a number of works of art." Seized by the FBI on Sept. 10, Winter—sometimes referred to as Skaters or Snow—now becomes one of the number. The Arkell Museum "was of course very upset to learn the history of the painting's seizure," its executive director says, per the AP. It will be held by the FBI in Albany until Mosse's heirs can accept it. (A Renoir stolen by Nazis has also been recovered.)

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