The Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Italy, has made a public appeal to the German government to take a hand in a disagreement centering on a painting stolen by German soldiers three quarters of a century ago.
“Vase of Flowers” by the 18th-century Dutch master Jan van Huysum, is privately owned today, and its owners don’t want to let it go.
“The Uffizi made its message public on Twitter on Tuesday, with a link to a lengthy “appeal to Germany for 2019” by its director, Eike Schmidt. It also posted on its website a video showing Mr. Schmidt ceremoniously affixing a black-and-white photo of Van Huysum’s still life in the Room of the Putti of the Pitti Palace, which is overseen by the Uffizi, where the painting hung before it was stolen during World War II,” reported the New York Times. The appeal, posted at https://www.uffizi.it/magazine/van-Huysum, reads as follows:
“An appeal to Germany, for 2019: We hope that in the course of this year the famous Vaso di Fiori can finally be returned to the Uffizi Gallery in Florenceof the Dutch painter Jan van Huysum, stolen by Nazi soldiers during the Second World War and, currently, in the availability of a German family who, after all this time, has not yet made it to the museum, despite numerous requests from the State Italian”. To launch the appeal, spreading it also through the internet (on the Uffizi website and on the social profiles of the museum complex), it is today, the first day of the year, the same German director of the Uffizi, Eike Schmidt.
The painting in question is a masterpiece by Jan van Huysum (Amsterdam 1682-1749), a still-life painter of great fame: it is an oil on canvas, 47 x 35 cm, belonging to the collections of Palazzo Pitti since 1824, when it was bought by the Lorraine Grand Duke Leopold II for the newly founded Galleria Palatina. For more than a century it was exhibited in the Putti hall, together with other Dutch still lifes created by the greatest artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Rachel Ruysch and Willem van Aelst; in 1940, when the palace was evacuated at the beginning of the war, the painting was brought to the Medici villa of Poggio a Caiano. In 1943 he was moved to the Bossi Pucci villa, also in Florence, until soldiers of the retreating German army took him along with other works to transfer him to Castel Giovio, in the province of Bolzano. The box in which the In 1943 he was moved to the Bossi Pucci villa, also in Florence, until soldiers of the retreating German army took him along with other works to transfer him to Castel Giovio, in the province of Bolzano. The box in which the In 1943 he was moved to the Bossi Pucci villa, also in Florence, until soldiers of the retreating German army took him along with other works to transfer him to Castel Giovio, in the province of Bolzano. The box in which theVase of Flowers of Palazzo Pitti was opened: the stolen work ended in Germany, where they lost track of it.
“It reappeared only decades later, in 1991, shortly after the German reunification: since then, various intermediaries have tried several times to get in touch with the authorities in Italy asking for a ransom. A request for such absurdity that recently, after the last outrageous offer, the Florence prosecutor has opened an investigation: in fact, the picture is already owned by the Italian State, and therefore can not be sold or sold.
“Because of this affair that affects the heritage of the Uffizi Galleries, the wounds of the Second World War and Nazi terror are not yet healed. Germany should abolish the prescription for works stolen during the conflict and make sure that they can return to their legitimate owners, “observes Schmidt, noting that” for Germany there is still a moral duty to return this work to our museum: and I hope that the German state can do it as soon as possible, together, obviously, with every work of art looted by the Nazi army “.
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