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German museum returns Nazi-looted painting

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(JTA) — A German museum returned a 15th century Renaissance painting stolen by the Nazis to the estate of a Jewish art dealer.

"Virgin and Child," attributed to an artist known as the Master of Flémalle, was handed over to the estate of the late Dr. Max Stern on Tuesday during a ceremony at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin.

The restoration of the painting marks the first time in the 10-year history of the Max Stern Art Restitution Project that a German museum has returned an artwork lost as a result of Nazi persecution. The painting is the 10th of about 400 missing works that has been recovered by the estate.

The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart museum acquired the painting in 1948. It agreed to return the painting after its provenance was established. 

The beneficiaries of Stern’s estate, including any recovered pieces of artwork, are Concordia, McGill and Hebrew universities.

Stern liquidated his gallery’s more than 400 pieces after Jews were banned from selling art. In 1943, after recovering a fraction of the works, Stern moved to Canada and purchased the Dominion Gallery of Fine Arts.

Following Stern’s death in 1987, the beneficiary universities, in association with the Holocaust Claims Processing Office in New York, founded the Max Stern Art Restitution Project to locate and recover works from Stern’s collection.

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