Nazi-Looted Poussin Painting Found in Italy, Returned to Owners

A painting by Nicolas Poussin, looted from its Jewish owners in France by the Nazis during occupation, has been discovered in Italy. The work, titled Lot with His Two Daughters Serving Him a Drink, has since been returned to its owners, according to the Carabinieri, Italy’s national police force. 

The search for the missing work began again last year, when the heirs, a 98-year-old Swiss woman and a 65-year-old American, began combing through a database of property looted in France throughout the second World War. After finding the painting on the site, they filed a request for its return through the Italian government.

A special unit dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage managed to establish the provenance of the piece, though much of its journey following the occupation remains a mystery. They determined that, in 2017, the painting was bought in France by an Italian antiques dealer, who lent it to Belgium for an exhibition. Afterward, the work was sold to a dealer from Milan, who subsequently exhibited it in 2019 in Maastricht in the Netherlands. It was during at this exhibition that a viewer, a Dutch antiquities expert, recognized it as a looted Poussin.
Following the trail they had recreated, the Italian police force finally tracked the work to the home of the antiques dealer near Padua, in northeastern Italy. The Poussin was seized and returned to its heirs.
Poussin has been considered one of the greatest French artists of the 17th century. He preferred intimate canvases for private collectors, gravitating toward scenes of Greek mythology and allegorical landscapes. For a brief period, Poussin even worked as one of the personal painters for Louis XIII, ultimately ending that job when he departed for Rome, where he remained until his death in 1665.

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