Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Two paintings belonging to the late Montreal art dealer Max Stern that were stolen by the Nazis just before the start of the Second World War were returned yesterday to his estate at a ceremony in Berlin.

One of the paintings - Flight from Egypt, attributed to the circle of 16th-century Dutch master Jan Wellens de Cock and formerly in the collection of German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer - was unveiled at the event. The second, Girl from the Sabine Mountains by the 19th-century German court painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter, was not shown.

However, the estate confirmed the Winterhalter was in its possession after the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, in a landmark decision last month, ordered its previous owner, Baroness Maria-Louise Bissonnette of Rhode Island, to return it to Mr. Stern's trustees. It's expected both paintings will be lent to Canadian art galleries for exhibition.

Story continues below advertisement

Yesterday's restitution is the latest victory in a continuing attempt by the Max Stern Art Restitution Project, started in 2002 at Montreal's Concordia University, to locate and claim more than 400 artworks that once belonged to Mr. Stern or his family. In a little more than two years, five of those artworks have been successfully reclaimed by the estate, two of which are now on loan to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Another 30 or 40 Stern paintings have been located in public and private galleries, mostly in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the United States, and negotiations are under way to have some of them returned.

Mr. Stern, who died in Montreal in 1987, came to Canada in 1941. Six years later, he became the owner of the Dominion Gallery in Montreal. He'd been forced to flee his native Germany in late 1937, shortly after the Nazis coerced him into selling more than 220 artworks from his Dusseldorf dealership to a Nazi-approved auctioneer in Cologne. Other works were forcibly consigned or confiscated in the following three or four years.

Mr. Stern left a large amount of his estate to Concordia University, and in 2000 the university oversaw the sale of the Dominion Gallery and the dispersal of its inventory of 5,000 artworks.

The Stern restitution served as a preface to a two-day symposium beginning today in Berlin called Taking Responsibility: Nazi-looted Art -- A Challenge for Libraries, Archives and Museums. Clarence Epstein, director of the Montreal restitution project, said the location and timing of yesterday's announcement was entirely intentional.

"One of the challenges we have is that, unlike the United States, which recognizes a forced sale as being equivalent to a theft, here in Germany and in other countries, they haven't yet developed an art law position that is as clear as the Americans," Dr. Epstein said.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies