franceinfo-culture: Restitution of works stolen by the Nazis: in the footsteps of a looted Chagall

Posted on 02/15/2022 20:51

Video 20h: Document Sur les trances d’un Chagall spolié

It will have taken more than 80 years for works of art, stolen from Jewish owners by the Nazis, to be returned to the heirs. The Senate must give the green light, on the evening of Tuesday, February 15, to a law which allows the restitution of public collections. Among 15 works concerned, “The Father”, by Chagall.

For a long time, it was possible to cross the red-circled gaze of the Father, of Chagall, in French museums. In Paris, no one knew that the painting had been stolen. But James Palmer, a Canadian who tracks Nazi-looted art around the world, has finally proven it. “We had information in Poland, which led us to believe that a certain Mr. Cender had been robbed. At first we had a presentiment, an idea, a theory, and in the end all these clues allowed us to bring him together and his family,” said James Palmer, president of Mondex Corporation.

A Life between France and Poland

In 1914, Marc Chagall’s painting disappeared from Paris, for an unknown reason. It is bought in Poland by David Cender, a Polish Jewish musician . When Germany invades Poland, the latter is chased out of his apartment by the Nazis. Like thousands of others, he was parked in the Łódź ghetto , then deported to Auschwitz in 1942. His wife and two-year-old daughter were murdered there. David Cender will survive. Return to Paris, Tuesday February 15. In the office of master lawyer Melina Wolman , the whole story of the painting unfolds. In 1962, David Cender declared the theft to Germany, describing it in precise detail. The painting left Poland after the war, before being bought by the painter himself, then donated to the Beaubourg museum. The government will return the painting to five grandnephews and nieces of David Cender, who died in 1966.