Possible Van Gogh painting in Australia claimed to be Nazilooted art


MELBOURNE, Dec. 20 — A famous portrait at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Australia has been claimed to be a looted art by the Nazis in 1930s and was demanded a return to its original owner, local media reported.
The Head of a Man, which has once been regarded as a five million-Australian dollar collection of Van Gogh at the Melbourne- based NGV for 67 years, was off displayed in 2007 due to a research in Amsterdam showing it might not be a real work of the master.
Experts of the NGV have opened the back of the painting in order to find the trace of the real creator but found nothing.
According to media report, the estimated value of the painting would decrease to 10,000 Australian dollars if it’s not a real Van Gogh art.
However, a Swiss lawyer Olaf Ossmann recently claimed that the painting was a Van Gogh once belonged to a wealthy jew Richard Semmel who used to live in Berlin.
Semmel was forced to sell the painting along with other valuable collections in Amsterdam in 1933 when he fled the Nazis, he told media.
“On one of the auctions it was on display also this Head of a Man from Van Gogh and there it was bought by a businessman and changed two times in the end until it ended up in Australia,” Ossmann was quoted by the ABC news as saying.
Now Semmel’s heir are determined to have this artwork returned based on the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi- Confiscated Art, said Ossmann.
NGV Director Tony Ellwood has said in a statement that the gallery would follow and examine Ossmann’s claim.
“The NGV is committed to honoring the principles of the restitution of the return of artwork confiscated or sold under duress due to Nazi occupation,” Ellwood was quoted as saying.[db:内容2]