Vision Foundation auctions Nazi-seized painting for €240,000
Author: Andrew McClean
A painting seized for Hitler’s planned Führermuseum has sold at auction for €240,000 at the Dorotheum in Vienna with proceeds of the sale going to the Vision Foundation.
The previous owner left the painting of The Compassionate Child (The Beggar) by 19th century Austrian artist Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller to the charity when they died.
In 1938, Irma and Oscar Löwenstein, who were prominent members of Vienna’s Jewish community, escaped Nazi oppression to London but could not take their art collection.
When Irma died in 1976, she left her estate to the Greater London Fund for the Blind, now the Vision Foundation but her art collection remained unaccounted for.
In 2018, the Vision Foundation learned that three Waldmüller paintings from the collection had come to light in Munich, Dortmund and Berlin and it had rights to restitution as beneficiaries of Irma’s will.
Olivia Curno, chief executive of the Vision Foundation, said: ‘The funds raised by these three paintings will help us to deliver projects which empower people, educate employers, and change policy and public attitudes. Without Irma’s generous decision nearly 50 years ago, we wouldn’t be in a position to deliver this vital work.’
As part of its 100th anniversary, the charity would use the funds to launch an appeal to address poor employment rates of visual impaired people.