Wednesday 12/8/21
ART

Helsinki Amos Rex returns stolen painting to Germany after 102 years

The painting had disappeared in 1919 during a burglary and research revealed that it was acquired by the Finn Amos Anderson in 1926
Queue Amos Rex outside
Visitors on Sunday 17th waiting to enter Amos Rex. Photo by Barbara Stojanovic.
Visitors waiting to enter Amos Rex museum in Helsinki. Photo: Barbara Stojanovic.

A delegation from Finland closed a special chapter of looted art in the north-eastern German city of Neubrandenburg on Saturday.

The director of the Amos Rex in Helsinki, one of the largest private art museum in Finland, Kai Kartio, handed over a painting stolen in 1919 to the Neubrandenburg art collection. 

The oil painting called "Landscape with Shepherd and Flock" dates from the 17th century and was painted by the Baroque artist Philipp Peter Roos (1655-1706).

It was discovered during provenance research in the art museum in Finland, in which experts check the origin of art objects.

"Our collector Amos Anderson (1878-1961) could not have known at the time, when he bought the painting from an antique dealer, that it had been stolen," Kartio said at the ceremonial unveiling. Anderson was a publisher who had studied in Germany.

Since the entire historical collection of paintings from Neubrandenburg - which used to be the largest in all of the Mecklenburg region - has disappeared after 1945, the oil painting from Helsinki is now the first from the historical collection to be returned.

The painting by Roos had disappeared in 1919 during a burglary with a ladder along with 16 other paintings. Research revealed that it was acquired by the Finn Anderson in 1926.

Largest private Finnish museum

His collection formed the foundation for one of the largest private Finnish art museum, the Amos Rex, in 1965.

The Neubrandenburg art collection of 1890 had more than 10,000 art objects. It had been loaded up and taken away in April 1945. The city burned down on the night of 30 April, 1945.

After inventories were found, the collection was reported to the German Centre for the Loss of Cultural Property. In this way, the stolen paintings made it onto the search list.

In the end, there was an inventory number from 1890 on the back of the painting, which ultimately led to the donation to the new art collection.

Helsinki Amos Rex returns stolen painting to Germany after 102 years
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