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  • Caroline Cassin

Un tableau d'André Derain, "Pinède, Cassis" restitué à ses propriétaires le 27 janvier 2021.

Marseille un tableau du peintre Derain, butin des nazis a été restitué à ses propriétaires le 27 janvier 2021. Photo Valérie CHENINE FTV

This restitution follows a decision of the Paris Court of Appeal which ordered at the end of September the return to the family of the art dealer of three paintings by Derain, painted between 1907 and 1910 and kept at the Museum of Modern Art in Troyes and at the Cantini museum in Marseille.

The two canvases from the Troyes museum have already been returned to the Gimpel family last November, their lawyer Corinne Hershkovitch told AFP.

The Court of Appeal had reversed a judgment of first instance which refused the restitution of the three paintings, explaining that there was "precise, serious and concordant indications" that these paintings were those from which the art dealer had been despoiled.

The tortuous history of the painting "Pinède, Cassis", bought by René Gimpel in 1921 from the art dealer Daniek-Henry Kahnweiler, begins in Paris in 1940, told AFP the lawyer of the family.

Driven from the capital by anti-Jewish laws, his apartment requisitioned by a member of the German Embassy, ​​the collector René Gimpel took refuge in the south of France, in Marseille, where he founded a network with his sons. resistance, according to Mr. Hershkovitch.

If most of his works stored in 80 cases are seized by the Nazis at his carrier, he succeeds in recovering by his secretary the three paintings of Derain that he sells to survive and finance his network.

The canvas "Pinède, Cassis" was thus sold in 1941 to a Marseille shipowner who resold it to the city of Marseille in 1987, according to his story.

"Selling a painting when you have no choice because you are persecuted by anti-Semitic legislation corresponds to the definition of a forced sale provided for in the ordinance of April 1945 on the nullity of acts of spoliation", explains the lawyer.

René Gimpel was arrested in 1944 and then deported to the Neuengamme concentration camp where he died of exhaustion in January 1945.

Some 100,000 works of art were seized in France during World War II, according to the Ministry of Culture. 60,000 were found in Germany at the Liberation and sent back to France. Of these, 45,000 were returned to their owners between 1945 and 1950.

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