Gallery under fire over Nazi loot

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News) 8 July 2007

A top human rights lawyer is demanding the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) return a painting believed to have been stolen by the Nazis just before World War II.

For the past three years the NGV has been investigating whether the painting, Lady with a Fan, by Gerard ter Borch, was looted by Nazi forces in the 1930s.

The family of Jewish magnate Max Emden believe the art work was taken from their Hamburg home when they fled Germany.

Sydney-based lawyer George Newhouse says it is important that proceeds of war crimes are returned to their rightful owners.

"The National Gallery of Victoria can try and hide between the time that has elapsed between the paintings going missing and today," he said.

"But it is very obvious, if you look at the pattern of the art works that have been stolen, that they didn't just jump off the walls."

The NGV says there is a not enough evidence to prove the painting belongs to the Emden family, but the assessment of the painting's ownership is continuing.
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