Vienna Philharmonic to return Nazi-looted painting


(JTA) — The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra will return a donated Nazi-looted painting to the heirs of its rightful owners.

The painting, “Port-en-Bessin” by French neo-Impressionist Paul Signac, will be given back to the heirs of French resistance operative Marcel Koch, the director of the Institute of European Studies in Moutaine, France, at a ceremony later in the year, the orchestra said Saturday.

A German military official donated the painting to thank the orchestra for performances for German soldiers in France in 1940, according to The New York Times. The orchestra has been working in recent years to overcome its wartime activities and Nazi sympathies.

Last year, the Philharmonic hired art historian Sophie Lillie to discover the provenance of the painting so it could be returned.

“We are thrilled that this property from Vienna will be transferred to France and to the right persons,” Clemens Hellsberg, president of the Philharmonic, told the Times, adding, “It was really a moral problem.”

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