PRESS RELEASE – Winterhalter Painting Was Located by the Art Loss Register Ltd for the Max Stern Estate – For Immediate Release
A painting attributed to Franz Xaver Winterhalter that US District Judge Mary Lisi ordered on 27 December 2007 be returned to the representatives of the estate of Max Stern was identified by the Art Loss Register Ltd (ALR) when it was offered for sale at an auction house in Rhode Island in 2005. The painting is one of several hundred works claimed by the Stern Estate that the ALR is searching for on behalf of Stern’s principal beneficiaries – Concordia University and McGill University in Montreal and Hebrew University in Jerusalem – all of which have been recorded on the ALR’s database of stolen and missing works of art since April 2004. On learning of the intended auction after a provenance check by a prospective buyer, the ALR contacted the auction house and informed it of the Stern Estate’s claimed ownership of the Winterhalter painting. As a result of the ALR’s intervention, the auction house agreed to withdraw the painting from the auction house. Efforts by the estate to recover the painting followed, a process which culminated in Judge Lisi’s December 2007 ruling.The painting, “Girl from the Sabiner Mountains” is not the only picture from the former Stern gallery in Düsseldorf, liquidated by the Nazis in 1937, that has been located by the ALR. Three other pictures by Mathijs Naiveau and Gustav Lange were identifed at an auction house in Cologne when they were offered for sale and the Stern Estate has filed a claim for them.The ALR is the world’s largest private international database of lost and stolen art, antiques and collectibles that provides recovery and search services to private individuals, collectors, the art trade, insurers and law enforcement through technology and a professionally trained staff of art historians. The ALR was formed in 1991 through a partnership between leading auction houses and art trade associations, the insurance industry and the International Foundation of Art Research. Since that time, the ALR have been responsible for and involved in the recovery of over 1,000 works of art worth around £100,000,000, including many dispersed between the years 1933 to 1945. With over 170,000 items on its database of lost and stolen art and antiques and undertaking around 300,000 searches a year of this database, the ALR is recognised as an integral part both of art recovery and also of museums and the art trade undertaking their necessary due diligence.