Volume 21, Number 50 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | April 24 - 30, 2009
Holocaust painting returned
Before Adolf Hitler rose to power, he had great aspirations to be a painter in Vienna. Hitler and his Nazi generals took particular interest in acquiring art owned by the Jews. On Yom Hashoah, April 21, the day commemorating the Holocaust, this rare oil painting of a man holding bagpipes (a musical instrument not often associated with Jewish culture) was returned to its rightful owner, Max Stern. Stern had consigned the piece to the Lempertz Action House in Cologne, Germany, and the painting eventually made its way to Lawrence Steigard’s gallery in Manhattan. Special Agent Peter J. Smith of Immigration Customs was able to recover the painting, valued at $60,000. “Each work of art returned brings us one step closer to the goal of repatriating all of the surviving works of art stolen by the Nazis,” Lev L Dassin, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “An important step has been taken by law enforcement and we are hopeful that other organizations and individuals will follow suit.” The painting will reside at the Museum of Montreal.