18 May 2008

Switzerland: Art returns to Jewish family

European Jewish Press website carried the story of a plundered Constable painting returned to its Jewish family 65 years after it was stolen and auctioned.

The 1820 painting is John Constable's oil-on-canvas "Dedham from Langham."

GENEVA (AFP)---A Geneva art gallery will return a 19th century painting by British landscape artist John Constable to relatives of French Jews 65 years after it was stolen and auctioned in wartime occupied France, local official said Friday.

The 1820 John Constable oil-on-canvas "Dedham from Langham" was confiscated from a Jewish family in the French town of Nice on the Mediterranean in 1943 and sold at auction there in 1943.

The museum was "reasonably convinced that this painting was looted," said Geneva city councillor Jean-Pierre Veya.

He said city hall had decided to return the work to the family of southern French art collectors John and Anna Jaffe on moral grounds after a request by Anna Jaffe's great nephew, a Paris-based teacher.

Read more here.


  1. Schelly

    For years I've been following the various incidents of restituion of art works stolen during the Holocaust to their rightful owners - I guess it is my degree in Art History.

    Since there are fewer and fewer survivors each year, I suppose proving your family connection to the original owner(s) is vital as well as provenance of the artwork.

  2. Hi, Thomas,

    It's always good to see your comments. The successes of researchers, genealogists, art historians and other hardworking individuals have been nothing short of miraculous in recent years.

    In some cases, it might have just been simpler to give up, but these individuals continue their efforts to achieve restitution of these looted works of art.