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Zurich gallery reaches agreement with Jewish collector’s heirs over Monet

Philipp M. Hildebrand, President of Zurich Art Society, right, and Ann Demeester, Director of the Kunsthaus Zurich, left. Hildebrand wears a navy suit, a deep blue tie and a white shirt, and his hands are held out in front of him as he speaks. Demeester, who has long, curly, blonde hair and is wearing a purple dress, is watching him. They are stood behind a table with two SRF microphones on a white tablecloth. To their right is a white marble bust and a standing lamp. They are in an old room with stone walls.
Zurich Art Society President Philipp Hildebrand said the gallery’s provenance research strategy, presented in 2023, was being implemented in earnest. Keystone / Michael Buholzer

The fine arts museum Kunsthaus Zürich will sell a painting by Claude Monet after reaching an agreement with the heirs of a Jewish collector who was forced to sell the work when he fled the Nazi regime. 

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Jewish industrialist and art collector Carl Sachs fled to Switzerland with his wife in 1939 and sold Monet’s Man with a Parasol to the Swiss gallery a few weeks later. This was a predicament caused by persecution and “a short-notice sale was necessary to secure the couple’s subsistence”, according to a report based on research into the painting’s provenance. 

+ Nazi-looted art: Is the Kunsthaus Zurich a ‘tainted museum’?

Due to these facts and the historic circumstance, the Zurich Art Society, which is sponsor and owner of the Kunsthaus Zürich collection, sought a dialogue with the family of Carl Sachs, who died in 1943. A “fair and equitable solution” was found on June 5, according to a press release on Wednesday. 

+ Zurich art museum to remove suspected Nazi-looted works

The Kunsthaus will now sell the painting, which dates to around 1865/1867. According to the agreement, the gallery will also receive a share of the proceeds, which will go towards the collection fund, in accordance with the International Council of Museum’s Code of Ethics. 

+ Read more:  Looted art: the woman tackling Switzerland’s historical burden

Zurich Art Society President Philipp Hildebrand regretted that “the marvellous painting” will probably leave the Kunsthaus after the sale, he is quoted as saying in the release. However, he said this step demonstrated that the gallery’s provenance research strategy, presented in 2023, was being implemented in earnest, and that the Kunsthaus dealt transparently with works where there were indications of Nazi-related persecution. 

Adapted from German by DeepL/kp 

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles.

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