The Cleveland Museum of Art has paid the heirs of Arthur Feldmann, an art dealer murdered by the Nazis, for a drawing in the museum’s collection:
Feldmann, according to the museum’s statement, died in 1941, two years after he was arrested and tortured by the Nazis when they invaded the city of Brno in the present-day Czech Republic. Feldmann’s wife, the statement said, was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and later Auschwitz, where she too died.
According to numerous reports, the Nazi Gestapo, or state secret police, confiscated Feldmann’s collection of approximately 750 Old Master drawings. Hitler’s aim was to build a museum of stolen masterpieces as a monument to the Third Reich.
Cleveland museum Director David Franklin said the institution agrees that the Liss drawing, entitled “Allegory of Christian Faith,” once belonged to Feldmann, although he said “there was some vagueness as to whether the drawings were seized by the Nazis or not.”
Yet he said, “we felt it was the honorable thing to meet the family halfway and give them the benefit of the doubt.”
“We were willing to give them fair market value to keep the drawing in the collection,” Franklin said, “and they were happy to have the drawing remain in a public collection and to honor the fact that we looked after it so well for so long.”