By THOMAS ADAMSON
American Thomas Selldorff, speaks during a ceremony at the Culture Ministry in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 19, 2013, to return seven paintings taken from their Jewish owners during World War II, as part of ongoing efforts to give back hundreds of looted artworks that still hang in the Louvre and other French museums. Selldorff reclaimed six German and Italian paintings that his grandfather, Richard Neumann, was forced to sell during World War II to flee Nazi occupation, and one other painting was returned to other recipients. In the background painting left, Sebastiano Ricci, (Belluno, 1659 – Venice, 1734), Abraham and the three angels, painting right, Gaspare Diziani(Belluno, 1689 – Venice, 1767), Allegory of Venice. Sign in front reads: ceremony of return of seven paintings spoils from the Nazi regime. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
PARIS (AP) — France has given an American an art collection that Nazis took from his grandfather during World War II.
Tom Selldorff was a 6-year-old Austrian living in Vienna when he last saw the paintings in the 1930s, including masterpieces by Alessandro Longhi and Sebastiano Ricci. Selldorff later moved to the U.S., and he’s now 84.
On Tuesday, France gave the six paintings to Selldorff as part of its ongoing effort to return hundreds of looted artworks that Jewish owners lost during the war, and that still hang in the Louvre and other museums.
“I’m extremely grateful,” said Selldorff. “These paintings were in this fog of war. (It) was not easy. It took a long time.”
Selldorff wants to leave them to his children, in honor of his grandfather’s love of art.