Sydney Morning Herald
A Chilean man has claimed a 17th century art work on display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) may have been looted from his grandfather by Nazis. It emerged  today that the family of famous Jewish collector Max Emden approached the NGV in 2004 to question whether the painting, Lady with a Fan, could have been stolen by Nazis after he fled Germany in the 1920s.
Mr Emden lived in Switzerland at the beginning of World War II, but later settled in Chile, where his heirs now live.
The NGV’s website has listed the painting as one of 24 of questionable provenance, and shows it was bought by Max Emden in 1913. There is a gap in its history until it was acquired from the Wildenstein art dealers in London for the NGV in 1945.
The New York Times newspaper has linked the Wildenstein dealers to artworks purchased from Nazis.
In 2003, a French court found in favour of the author of the book, The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World’s Greatest Works of Art, who was being sued by the Wildenstein family, the New York Times reported.
Lady with a Fan was painted by Dutch artist Gerard ter Borch in about 1660. Deputy director of the NGV, Tony Elwood, today said the artwork, worth about $100,000, may have been taken to Switzerland by Mr Emden. He said there were no records yet found that indicated where the Wildensteins purchased the painting.
Mr Elwood said the grandson of Mr Emden had not made an official claim for the artwork, but only queried whether it may have been illegally confiscated by Nazis.
The NGV was the first gallery in Australia to list works that had questionable history, and would return any artwork determined to have been looted by Nazis, Mr Elwood said.