Friday, July 30, 2010

Paintings Taken by Serviceman in WWII Return to Germany -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

So your Great-Uncle leaves you, in his will, several paintings that look like they are of European origin, possibly German.  You know your Great-Uncle was stationed in Germany during WWII.  There are no receipts or any paperwork accompanying the paintings.  What do you do?  Well if you are Beth Ann McFadden, the grand-niece of former Army sergeant Harry Gursky, you conduct extensive research on the paintings' provenance.  She and a friend discovered that the paintings were among 40 in the Pirmasen municipal museum's collection that were missing from a storage area under the local school building after World War II.  Gursky, who died in 1988, was stationed in Pirmasens after the initial invasion.  McFadden then contacted German authorities who informed her that ICE had an open investigation. Now the paintings are on their way home to Pirmasens Museum in Germany.  "Without the integrity and good will of Beth Ann McFadden, the repatriation of these paintings to the Pirmasens Museum could not have taken place," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara. "Each work of art returned symbolizes an act of justice, bringing us one step closer to the goal of repatriating all of the surviving pieces taken from museums during World War II."  The paintings are each valued in the tens of thousands.  GL

Paintings Taken by Serviceman in WWII Return to Germany

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