Valuable art stolen by the Nazis will be returned to relatives of the original collector, but they will not be able to bring the works home.
The 32-piece collection of paintings and drawings had belonged to Jewish lawyer Emil Fruend, who died in 1942 in Poland’s Lodz Ghetto after being deported from Prague.
The Jewish Museum in Prague will transfer the collection to Freund’s American relatives, but they cannot leave the country with the art because the Czech Culture Ministry in 2002 had declared 13 of the most valuable pieces cultural treasures. One painting, Paul Signac’s “Riverboat on Seine” (1901), is worth nearly $2 million, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune.
The collection, which also includes works by Andre Derain and Maurice Utrillo, would likely attract higher bids abroad than it would in the Czech Republic. Freund’s family also must offer pieces of the collection to the Czech state before attempting to sell to others. The family and the state are negotiating. The Nazis seized the collection during their occupation. It was taken by the Czechoslovak state when the communists took over in 1948. The National Gallery turned it over to the Jewish Museum in 2000.