Five years after a Nazi-looted Italian Baroque masterpiece turned up on the art market, first in Vienna and then in Milan, the painting has been returned to its Los Angeles owner. w/image of the art. The life-size figure of St. Catherine of Alexandria, painted in Genoa around 1615 by Bernardo Strozzi, was installed Monday in the third floor galleries for European art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The painting, valued at between $2.5 million and $3 million, is a promised gift to the museum, where it vaults to the top tier of 22 Italian Baroque paintings in LACMA's collection. It is highly unusual for a painting plundered from a private party to directly enter a museum collection, rather than for it to be sold to settle claims from multiple heirs. The restitution of the Strozzi was made to the original owner's sole heir, who is making the gift.
Most of us are aware of the ongoing controversy over art that was looted by Nazis during World War II, and which now hangs in museums around the world.
Lawsuits and settlements have returned much of that art to its rightful owners, but a recent recovery story has an unusual twist to it. A twist that will bring a previously plundered piece to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Christopher Knight, art critic for the Los Angeles Times, joins the show with more.