Art may have been looted by Nazis

The Sydney Morning Herald 8 July 2007
Heath Gilmore

AN Australian lawyer has accused one of the nation's top galleries of harbouring Nazi-looted art work.

George Newhouse, high profile lawyer and Mayor of Waverley, has joined the fight to return the painting to its original Jewish owners after it was allegedly stolen by the Nazis.

He has been engaged by a New York law firm to demand that the National Gallery of Victoria hand over Lady With A Fan, by Dutch master Gerard ter Borch.

Law firm Klein & Solomon has been negotiating with the gallery for more than a year over ownership of the painting, which is worth anywhere between $100,000 and $1million.

The painting allegedly belonged to Jewish retail magnate Max Emden, who fled Hamburg and then Switzerland, leaving behind much of his massive art collection.

His grandson, Chile-based Juan Carlos Emden, wants the painting held by the NGV returned.
Mr Newhouse said litigation was a last resort for the family.

Gallery head of public affairs Sue Coffey said the NGV took the issue of art stolen by the Nazis seriously but it was a complex matter.

"At present there is a lack of primary or contemporary evidence of Mr Emden's ownership of the painting," she said.

"Therefore the assessment of his claim is ongoing."
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