NEW YORK CITY (JTA) — France has returned three 16th-century paintings to the grandchildren of a German-Jewish couple who were forced to sell the work in Paris as they fled the Nazis.
The portrait, attributed by the French Culture Ministry either to the Dutch artist Joos van Cleve or his son, was returned to Christopher Bromberg and Henrietta Schubert in a Paris ceremony. Their grandparents, Henry and Hertha Bromberg, sold the paintings in 1938 as they headed for the United States, The New York Times has reported.
Allied forces found the paintings in 1945 and brought them back to France from Germany.
The paintings reportedly were among 2,000 artworks taken from France to Germany during World War II. Many of the owners have yet to be identified. Among those works, only 107 have been returned to the descendants of the original owners, according to The New York Times.
In December, the Louvre put 31 Nazi-looted paintings on permanent display in an attempt to find their rightful owners. Some 296 Nazi-looted paintings are stored at the museum and remain unclaimed.
France’s culture minister, Audrey Azoulay, acknowledged that the return period had been “quite belated,” adding that the country was now being more “proactive” in trying to return the artworks.