The family of legendary art dealer Paul Rosenberg will have a Matisse that was looted by the Nazis, returned. The 1921 masterpiece by Matisse, “The Seated Woman, ” ended up in the collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, whose father Hildebrand was notorious for looting artwork from Jews during the Holocaust.
The paintings belonging to the estate of Gurlitt were headed to a Swiss museum, but an order signed by German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters will return the painting to the Rosenbergs, the original owners. The order has to be approved by a probate court, but this is expected to be a pro forma exercise, as reported by Zeenews. The Matisse painting alone is worth $20 million.
Paul Rosenberg was close to many great artists and had 300 paintings, including 21 by Matisse, and others by Toulouse Latrec, Renoir, Manet, Degas and others. One of Goring’s agents seized many of them. Paul Rosenberg fled to America, and ironically, his son Captaine Alexandre Rosenberg, who worked on behalf of the French Resistance, re-captured many paintings from the Nazis, and some of the recovered works were those belonging to his father. Paul Rosenberg returned to Europe after the war to try to recover what items he could, with some success.
In the 1990s, the Rosenbergs won a lawsuit against a Seattle Art Museum which displayed Matisse’s “Odalisque” which had been stolen from Rosenberg’s collection.