Germany reportedly will return a painting by Carl Spitzweg to the heirs of a German Jewish collector who died in Buchenwald. The 1857 work “Fiat Justitia” had been on display until last year in the presidential palace in Bonn, according to a report in the Berlin magazine Cicero. A government inquiry determined that Leo Bendel was forced to sell the painting to a dealer during the Nazi period, and reportedly used the proceeds to help his family escape to Austria. The painting was purchased a few months later on Hitler’s orders for a museum he planned, according to reports in Der Spiegel magazine. Bendel’s widow tried in vain to get the work back after the war. The painting reportedly was removed from display last year after its provenance was revealed. The decision to return the art was in keeping with the Washington Principles, guidelines for determining whether works were confiscated or sold under duress during the Nazi period.
Germany to return painting to Jewish heirs