NS Confiscated Art Returned to U.S. Owner

Kurier (06/18/03)

During a special ceremony, the Governor and Cultural Director of Upper Austria, Josef Pühringer, returned an oil painting which had been confiscated by the Gestapo in 1942 to the family, Bryk-Cardarelli, from the US who had travelled to Austria for the occasion. The large "Knabe im Hühnerhof," dating from around 1670, painted by Melchior d’Hondecoeter together with his Dutch compatriot, Jacob Joraens, has hung in the Art Museum in Linz since 1945.

A project funded by Upper Austria under the direction of the University of Linz researching the whereabouts of NS confiscated art and their rightful owners discovered the painting in the Linzer Museum. Valued at 70,000 Euros, the artwork underwent complete restoration before it was returned. In the future it will hang in the home of the clothing manufacturer, Julius Neumann, in Washington, whose family immigrated to the U.S. in 1938 after the Anschluss and from whose collection the Gestapo seized twenty-two paintings.

The current legal owner, Franziska von Weber, born Neumann, wrote in a letter that since "one is not as agile at age 92 as at age 85," she was requesting that her daughter, Antonia Bryk and granddaughter, Alexandra Cardarelli, represent her in Linz. During the presentation, Dr. Prühinger spoke of a "day of gratification," in that Upper Austria’s restitution laws concluded on April 1, 2002, were bearing its initial fruit.