A 16th century painting, titled Madonna with Child, attributed to the baroque painter Alessandro Turchi has made its way home to Poland after having been looted by Nazis during World War II, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The painting, which was discovered in Japan in 2022, is among 600 works that have been repatriated to Poland since the war and accounts for only 0.9% of the roughly 660,000 works that were looted from Occupied Poland between 1939 and 1945. It was officially returned on Wednesday at the Polish Embassy in Tokyo.
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Polish culture minister Piotr Glinski told reporters that Turchi’s Madonna with Child was on a list of the 521 most valuable pieces of art in Poland, according to the AP.
It is unclear how the painting came to be in Japan, but it was sold by an auction house in New York in the late 1990s. Its provenance shows that it was once in the collection of 18th century Polish aristocrat Stanislaw Kostka-Potocki. By 1823, it was in another aristocratic collection, Henryk Lubomirski of Przeworsk.
“More and more of the looted objects are appearing at auctions because the memory (of their past) has weakened and the persons who are in their possession now do not have the full knowledge or are not aware of where the artwork is coming from,” Agata Modzelewska, head of the ministry’s department for restitution of culture items, told The Associated Press.
The painting was returned following negotiations with Japan, its owner, and the Mainichi Auction Inc., the report said.
The push for repatriation has become a global concern. Africa, India, China, Mexico, and Greece, are among the countries who, in recent years, have been actively seeking the return of looted artwork and artifacts.