Henri Matisse's Seated Woman Returns Home

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Seated Woman by Henri Matisse

In happy art news, a painting stolen from renowned art dealer Paul Rosenberg when he fled the Nazis in 1940, is finally being restituted to Rosenberg’s granddaughter, Anne Sinclair.


As you may know, in addition to mass genocide, the Nazis also systematically stole art and various historic treasures as they moved across Europe in what is collectively now known as the Rape of Europa. The United States charged a small army unit with finding and saving all of that artwork calling themselves the Monuments Men, George Clooney even made a movie about it.


If half the army boys looked this good I may just join!

As NPR reported, “In 2010, during a routine check for papers on a train running from Zurich to Munich, an elderly passenger had a suspiciously large amount of cash on him. German authorities investigated Cornelius Gurlitt further. In his Munich apartment, they found an astonishing collection of paintings, some reportedly stored in vegetable crates. It was an art trove of more than 1,000 works by major artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Otto Dix, Paul Klee, Courbet, Degas and Renoir. Estimated value: more than $1 billion.Gurlitt’s father was an art dealer who had helped the Nazis sell and trade works they’d stolen from Jews.”  … Attorney Christopher Marinello, the CEO of Art Recovery Group said, “that when Seated Woman was found in Cornelius Gurlitt’s apartment, those records helped him prove the painting belonged to Rosenberg. Matisse and Picasso were among the dealer’s many artist friends. Rosenberg spent years trying to recover the some 400 artworks that had been stolen from him by the Nazis. He died in 1959.”

There are still 60 works from Rosenberg’s collection that are unaccounted for and could be hiding in some grandma’s attic or were destroyed in an air raid. Many famous artworks were stolen and restituted to their previous owner’s families, scroll down for a look at some of the more well known ones and a few that never made it home:


The Astronomer by Johannes Vermeer at the Louvre Museum was stolen from Edouard de Rothchild.


The Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck at the Saint Bavo Cathedral was the main artwork in the Monuments Men film.


Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo at the Church of Our Lady was stolen by the Nazis in 1944, as they retreated from Belgium back to Germany.


Adele Bloch-Bauer I Gustav Klimt at the Neue Galerie New York was recently featured in the film Woman in Gold, featuring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.


Place de la Concorde by Edgar Degas was “saved” by the Russians and placed in the The State Hermitage Museum. Until recently, the Russians denied ever having it and many other paintings they “saved.”


Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael is rumored to be sitting in a mysterious bank vault somewhere. At the end of the Monuments Men film, this painting is seen being set alight by a German flamethrower.  

It is every art historians hope that all paintings are one day able to make their way back home. If you know of missing artworks or are looking for your families’ artwork consult the Art Loss Register.

By: Lauren

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Lauren Dare

Sr. Editor

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