Nazi-looted painting returned to Jewish heirs in Germany

Thomas Couture, ‘Portrait of a Seated Young Woman,’ 1850-1855). This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art.

BERLIN (AP) – Officials have returned a painting looted by the Nazis to heirs of a Jewish French politician and resistance figure who was executed during World War II.

Portrait of a Seated Young Woman by Thomas Couture, which belonged to Georges Mandel, was discovered in late collector Cornelius Gurlitt’s art trove while German authorities were investigating a tax case in 2012.

The reclusive Bavarian collector inherited the 1,500-piece collection from his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who traded in works confiscated by the Nazis. Many are thought to have been looted from their original Jewish owners, but provenance research has been slow and only a handful has been restituted.

Culture Minister Monika Gruetters pledged at Tuesday’s handover to Mandel’s relatives to do everything possible to return stolen art to rightful owners.

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AP-WF-01-08-19 1150GMT