Mark Whitehead 18 September 2015

Bristol gallery can keep Renoir painting

Bristol City Council has been told it can keep a Renoir painting which was owned by a Jewish family in Germany and sold at an auction organised by the Nazis.

Its owners, Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer, were banned as directors of their art and jewellery dealership by the Nazis in the 1930s.

They fled the country for France to avoid arrest and the painting was later sold at a Nazi-organised auction in Berlin.

In 1999 The Coast of Cagnes was left to the friends of the Bristol Art Gallery in 1999 by a Jewish man from Austria.

But the Spoliation Advisory Panel, which resolves claims over cultural objects lost during the Nazi era and now held in UK national collections, concluded that the artwork was sold because of a bank debt rather than Nazi persecution.

The painting is now at Bristol Art Gallery which is owned by the city council.

A Bristol City Council spokesman said it had received the advisory panel's report and ‘respect their recommendation’.

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