Looted Matisse painting returned by Norwegian museum

By Kyle Lubelski,

The Henie Onstad Art Center in Norway announced Thursday that it would return the Nazi looted Henri Matisse painting, Woman in Blue in Front of a Fireplace, back to the family of the original owner, Paul Rosenberg.

The Associated Press reports that the 1937 painting was taken by Hermann Goering after Rosenberg fled to New York at the outbreak of World War II. Neils Onstad, and wife Sonja Henie of Olympic fame, acquired the painting in 1950 with no knowledge of its origins.

It has been on display in their museum since 1968, but now the museum has "chosen to adhere to international conventions and return the painting to Rosenberg's heirs,” according to a press statement.

According to BBC News, Matisse’s work was one of 162 taken from Rosenberg’s collection. The Jewish Conference confirms that over 650,000 pieces of art were taken by the Nazi looting squad called the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg. A recent cache of 1,500 pieces of art was recently found in Munich, and is considered by most just “the tip of the iceberg.”

The Matisse piece is estimated to around $20 million. Rosenberg represented both Matisse and Picasso at the time, which allowed him to build a large collection.

photo: Alvin Langdon Coburn [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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