New York Times Traces Difficulties in Selling Work Once Held by Nazi Collaborator

April 5th, 2016

The New York Times traces the difficulties in selling a Jan Steen painting from 1660, once valued at $400,000, but now virtually unsellable based on its prior ownership by Dutch Nazi collaborator and war profiteer, Dirk Menten.  The article focuses in particular on the various issues that challenge both those seeking the return of paintings, and those seeking to sell works that passed through Nazi hands.  “Painting titles and attributions changed over time, so it can be hard to compare descriptions of what was stolen with pieces found years later,” writes Even Kahn, whose family owns the painting, and who has worked for years to nail down its provenance before the war.  “Allied soldiers and experts who sifted through loot after the war made mistakes or labeled canvases with vague terms like “nude portrait” and “landscape.” And every day, fewer survivors remain who remember their families’ collections. Legitimate heirs become harder to track down.”

Read more at New York Times