The New York Times’s Arts Beat blog reports on a Italian painting—Girolamo Romano, “Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rogue”— on loan to a museum in Florida that has been held in a restitution dispute. Fears of loaning works to American museums because of the threat of restitution-related seizures have grown in recent years:
The painting was on display at the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, one of fifty works on loan from the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan for a show of Baroque painting from Lombardy.
Chucha Barber, the Brogan museum’s chief executive officer, said the United States attorney in Tallahassee, Pamela Marsh, had informed the museum on July 21 that the painting was believed to have been illegally seized from a Jewish family by the French Vichy government during the war. The museum was instructed that the painting should not be returned to Italy until the ownership is established, she said.
Ms. Barber also said she had received a phone call from Lionel Salem, a French-born chemist who is the grandson of the painting’s original owner, Guiseppe Gentili. Mr. Salem had informed her the painting in her gallery matches one that had belonged to Mr. Gentili before the war and was sold in a 1941 government auction, after most of the Gentili family had fled France. Several other paintings from that auction ended up at the Louvre and were eventually returned to the family after a long legal battle, Ms. Barber said.
Florida Museum to Hold on to Disputed Painting (Arts Beat/New York Times)