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NAZI

Swiss return Nazi-looted goblet

Switzerland announced on Thursday the return of a 17th century silver goblet to the estate of its Jewish owner, 75 years after its purchase at auction in Nazi-era Berlin.

The Swiss National Museum said a probe into its origins found the “Lerber Lerche” goblet was bought in 1937 at a sale of items belonging to German-American collector Emma Budge and held months after her death.

The proceeds from the auction went to a bank account blocked by the Nazis, preventing the owners from benefiting.

“Research by the MNS and the Bureau on Looted Art, together with a representative of the executor of Emma Budge’s estate, allowed us to clarify the precise circumstances of the acquisition,” said a statement from the Federal Office of Culture.

It said the goblet, which features a lark, was being returned in line with an international accord on Nazi-looted art.

Under a 1998 agreement known as the Washington Principles, 44 countries pledged to identify Nazi-confiscated art in museum collections and attempt to return the works to their rightful owners.

Budge (1852-1937) lived in Hamburg and the United States with her banker husband Henry.

Her private collection, including paintings, furniture and porcelain, is reportedly one of the largest auctioned during the Nazi era.

ART

Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.

mata-mua_gauguin-madrid

In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.

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