German City to Return Painting Stolen by Nazis to Owner's Heirs

The painting had been placed on the Lost Art List, an official database for artwork suspected to have been stolen by the Nazis

Paintings of Emil Nolde are displayed in the Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, April 11, 2019.
Markus Schreiber,AP

A painting by German artist Emil Nolde will be returned to its rightful owners after it was found to have been stolen by the Nazi government, the city of Dusseldorf said Monday.

The painting had belonged to Jewish timber merchant Curt Schueler, who was forced to sell it to the Nazis for an unreasonable price in the 1930s. The artwork will now be returned to Schueler's heirs. 

Conrad Doebbeke, a real estate agent and contractor, had purchased the painting in 1953 for Dusseldorf's city collection. Doebbeke is suspected of having bought artworks belonging to Jews during the Nazi regime, which is why the city had it placed on the Lost Art List in 2015.

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The Lost Art List is an official database for artwork suspected to have been stolen by the Nazis. Artwork on the list is investigated in order to determine its origins.

The 1919 painting is unusual because it is painted on both sides: on one side is an image of a countryside, while the other shows a portrait of a young woman with the title "Actress."

Curt Schueler and his wife were able to flee the Nazis to Sweden. He died in 1962. The painting will go to his grandsons, Kaj and Ronny Schueler.