A Painting Looted by the Nazis Returns to Its Rightful Inheritors

April 5 2019

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.

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Read more at Barron’s

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

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela