Poland reclaims two paintings looted during WWII

Photo: Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego/ Twitter

Poland has successfully repatriated two Flemish paintings “Mater Dolorosa” and “Ecce Homo”, created in the Dieric Bouts shop between the second half of the 15th century and the first quarter of the 16th century, previously owned by the Czartoryski family.

They were looted from a Polish collection at the Czartoryski castle in Gołuchów, west-central Poland, by Germans after their invasion of Poland.

The paintings, which had been in the collection of a local museum in Potevedra in western Spain, were located in 2019 by an employee of a Polish restitution office.

Thusands of works of art still lost

Culture Minister Piotr Gliński said at a press conference on Wednesday that the restitution would not have been possible without cooperation with Spain and consent from local authorities.

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“Having had legal arguments and evidence, I sent a restitution motion to the Spanish culture minister,” Gliński said. He added that the decision to return was made in December 2022.

“In all, we’re now carrying out 130 restitution processes in more than 10 countries around the world,” the culture minister stressed.

The Polish Culture Ministry’s database contains close to 66,000 lost works of art. Some 600 have been repatriated in recent years.