A Nazi-looted painting by Hans Wertinger has been restituted to the heirs of the Jewish art dealers Isaac Rosenbaum and Saemy Rosenberg by the German state of Baden-Würtemberg.
The work Bildnis Pfalzgraf Johann III (ca. 1526) – which belonged to the collection of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart – has been returned almost 80 years after the dealers, who sold the work in 1936, were forced to pay the proceeds from the sale into a Nazi-government account.
The Baden-Würtemberg ministry of the arts announced that the restitution marks the 24th occasion that the state has returned a looted artwork since 2002. The heirs of Rosenbaum and Rosenberg submitted the request for the return of the work through their solicitors in 2008. A researcher at the Staatsgalerie was now able to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the painting was in fact expropriated from the art dealers in 1936.
According to the Stuttgart Zeitung, state secretary Jürgen Walter said in a recent statement, “We stand by our historic responsibility to identify and return cultural goods expropriated from those persecuted by the Nazi regime.”
The painting found its way into the collection of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart after it was bequeathed to the state museum by the collector Heinrich Scheufelen in 1948. The ministry estimated the value of the painting at a five-figure sum. The state of Baden-Würtemberg reportedly spends €250,000, $276,875, or £176,000 annually on research to restitute Nazi-looted cultural goods.
Hans Wertinger was born in Landshut and worked in Munich. The artist is known for portraits which he finished with decorative hanging garlands at the top. He died in Landshut.