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Verzijl Masterpiece Looted by Nazis Returned to Jewish Collector’s Foundation

MONTREAL (JTA) — The FBI returned a Nazi-looted painting to officials of the Montreal-based foundation named for the German Jewish art dealer whose gallery once owned it.

At a ceremony Wednesday at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, Jan Franse Verzijl’s “Young Man as Bacchus” was handed over to the Max and Iris Stern Foundation nearly two years after the FBI found it in Spain.

A Spanish and Italian gallery were in the process of jointly selling the painting, but they readily let it go when its provenance was revealed.

The painting was the latest tracked down since 2002 as part of the Max Stern Art Restitution Project. Stern, who died in 1987, saw scores of artworks confiscated and sold off by the Nazis from his gallery in Dusseldorf before he fled to Canada in the mid-1930s.

In Montreal, Stern established the prominent Dominion Gallery 70 years ago.

The latest find brought to almost 20 the number of artworks recovered to the Stern Foundation through the restitution project, which is administered by Montreal’s McGill and Concordia universities, Hebrew University in Jerusalem and New York’s Holocaust Claim Processing Office.

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