A painting by Vincent Van Gogh that was stolen from its Jewish owner by the Nazis has been sold at auction for $35,855,000, a record for a Van Gogh painting on paper at auction.
The “Meules de blé” (“Wheatstacks”) watercolour was completed in 1888 and purchased by German Jewish art collector Max Meirowsky in 1913. In 1938, Meirowsky fled antisemitism in Germany for Amsterdam, leaving the painting with an art dealer who sold it to Alexandrine de Rothschild.
When Rothschild left Germany for Switzerland, her art collection was stolen by the Nazis.
The painting’s whereabouts until the 1970s are a mystery, but in 1979 American businessman Ed Cox bought it in New York.
Last week it went on sale again, with an agreement facilitated by Christie’s auction house that the proceeds from the record bid will be divided between the late Mr Cox’s estate and the descendants of Meirowsky and Rothschild.
It is understood that this agreement resolves any dispute over the ownership of the masterpiece.
Image credit: Christie’s