Artwork seized during Holocaust returned to owner's family

By Zoe Winograd, April 18, 2012

A Baroque painting taken from its owner during the Holocaust will be returned to an American Jewish family.

The original owner of the painting, Frederico Gentili di Giuseppe, an Italian Jew living in Paris, died in France in 1940 shortly before Nazi occupation.

The 473-year-old painting, "Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by Rogue" by Girolamo Romano, was later sold by Vichy France – a sale which is being called 'illegal' by the Gentili family. The painting is one of more than 70 pieces of art sold by Vichy France in 1941.

Mr Gentili's grandchildren, now living in Tallahassee, Florida, began legal action in 1997 to retrieve the painting but at the time its final ownership had not been determined.

A major international search led to the discovery of the painting, which, in a bizarre coincidence, was on the family's doorstep, in Florida's Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science. The painting had been lent to more than 20 countries since 2007 and was on loan from a Milanese gallery as part of a 2011 temporary exhibition in Florida.

In February 2012 a US federal judge ordered the painting to be returned to the Gentili family as its rightful owners.

Last updated: 3:03pm, April 18 2012