Rutgers Returns Holocaust Theft Painting

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New Jersey’s Rutgers University returned a Renaissance painting (right) to the grandson of the Dutch Jewish couple who surrendered the painting to the Nazis in 1940.

According to an Associated Press article in the Star-Ledger:

…The 1509 work “Portrait of a Young Man” by German painter Hans Baldung Grien had hung in [Simon] Goodman’s grandparents’ home in the Netherlands.

Goodman said the 18-inch-by-13-inch portrait of an apparent nobleman was part of a group of seven works that caught the eye of Karl Haberstock, who was a German dealer representing Adolph Hitler.

The museum said Goodman’s grandparents had traded the seven works for safe passage out of occupied Europe, but Nazi officers took the art and dispatched the grandparents to separate death camps, where they perished.

After the war Rudolf Heinemann of New York bought the painting. He gave it to Rutgers in 1959.

In 2009 Goodman, the grandson of Fritz Gutmann, called Suzanne Delehanty, the director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. “I believe you have a painting that belongs to my family,” Goodman said.

“We decided right away we wanted to do the right thing,” said Delehanty. Rutgers officially gave the painting to Goodman in a ceremony last week.

Yes, how nice of Rutgers to decide that. Lucky for Goodman Rutgers didn’t find itself financially strapped to the point where it was trying to sell its art to fund basic operations. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer