A Painting Looted by the Nazis Returns to Its Rightful Inheritors

On Monday evening, the 1639 painting A Scholar Sharpening His Quill, by the Dutch master Salomon Koninck, will be returned to the family of Adolphe Schloss at the French consulate in New York. Fang Block tells its story:

Schloss assembled one of the most significant private collections of Dutch and Flemish paintings, which he passed on to his wife and children upon his death in 1910. The collection’s prominence and the Schloss family’s Jewish heritage made it a target for confiscation by the Nazis. A Scholar Sharpening His Quill was taken in 1943 from a chateau in France, where the Schloss family kept some of their artworks. . . .

After being taken from the Schloss family in 1943, the painting was earmarked for Adolf Hitler’s museum at Linz, but it never arrived there. . . . It was held in the Führerbau building in Munich, and in the days between the fall of the Third Reich and the arrival of Allied troops, the contents of the building were looted by German civilians. A Scholar Sharpening His Quill was among the many artworks that disappeared.

In 2017, Christie’s [auction house] was consigned to sell the painting from a private collector in Chile. After it was shipped to Christie’s New York, specialists . . . launched their standard due-diligence process for works of this time period [and] confirmed that the consigned painting was a match to one missing from the Schloss family collection for the last 75 years, halted the presale process, and notified both the consignor and the Schloss family. . . .

The Nazis looted approximately 600,000 paintings from Jews, at least 100,000 of which are still missing.

Read more at Barron’s

More about: Adolf Hitler, Art, Holocaust, Holocaust restitution

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy