Van Gogh work looted by Nazis to be auctioned in New York

A watercolor by Vincent van Gogh that was seized by the Nazis during World War II will be sold at auction in New York next month, where it is expected to fetch a price of $ 20 million or more, the auction house has announced. Christie’s auction.

Christie’s is auctioning off the 1888 work, “Wheatstacks,” after facilitating negotiations between the heirs of the Texan oil tanker who now own it and the heirs of two Jewish art collectors who owned it at different times before it was sold. it is not looted by the Nazis. Details of the settlement are confidential, a Christie’s spokesperson said.

“Wheatstacks” will be auctioned on November 11 along with other works of art from the collection of Edwin L. Cox, a Texas oilman who died last year at the age of 99.

The work represents three haystacks dominating the harvest workers on a beautiful summer day.

It was purchased in 1913 by industrialist Max Meirowsky, who fled Germany for Amsterdam in 1938 fearing Nazi persecution.

Meirowsky entrusted “Wheatstacks” to a Paris-based art dealer, who sold it to Alexandrine de Rothschild, a member of the famous Jewish banking family.

Rothschild fled to Switzerland at the start of World War II and his art collection, including van Gogh‘s watercolor, was confiscated by the Nazis during the Occupation.

It is not known where the work was located between the end of the war and the 1970s, but Cox purchased it from the Wildenstein Gallery in New York in 1979.

Giovanna Bertazzoni, vice president of 20th and 21st century art at Christie’s, called the artwork one of van Gogh’s most powerful works on paper to ever appear on the open market.

“Everything is breathtaking: the iconic subject, the perfect state of the gouache, the intensity of the ink in the characteristic hatching and volutes defining the landscape, the ambitious scale of the composition,” she said on Thursday. in a press release.

Ahead of the auction, the watercolor will be on display at Christie’s in London from October 17-21, marking the first time it has been on public display since a 1905 van Gogh retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

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