A Berlin museum returns then buys a Pissaro looted by the Nazis

A museum in Berlin (Germany) returned and then bought back a painting by Camille Pissaro from its heirs on Monday. The work of the French impressionist painter, called “Une Place à la Roche-Guyon”, had been looted by the Nazis during the Second World War.

The 50 by 61 cm canvas had been on display since 1961 at the Alte Nationalgalerie, located on the Museum Island of the German capital. To keep the painting in its collections, the museum compensated the family of Armand Dorville, lawyer and collector of French Jewish art who died in 1941, whose heirs had many works confiscated by the Vichy regime.

A “repair” for the heirs

“I am very grateful to the heirs of Armand Dorville for making the purchase of the work possible. […] and for coming to Berlin especially for this purpose, ”said Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK), which manages the museum.

The amount paid for the Pissaro has not been disclosed. “It is reparation for a family and that [lui] allows you to look a little more calmly towards the past, ”said Antoine Delabre, genealogist at ADD Associés and representative of the Dorville heirs.

Made in 1867, the canvas acquired by Dorville in 1928 represents the city center of La Roche-Huyon (Val-d’Oise). This is the fourth return of a painting to the Dorville family by Germany. In January 2020, three paintings were returned to the collector’s heirs, from the huge collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of an art dealer from the time of the Third Reich.

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