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Painting Stolen in Nazi Era Found in Getty Collection

March 23, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The J. Paul Getty Museum has a 17th century painting by a renowned Dutch painter that was stolen from Belgium during the Nazi era, according to data provided by museum officials.

The museum's painting, called "The Satyr and the Peasant Family" by Dutch painter Jan Steen was plundered from Belgium between 1939 and 1945. But from whom it was stolen is not known, according to the J. Getty Trust data.

The Getty is only the latest gallery to join the list of U.S. art institutions that might have Nazi plunder hanging on their walls.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is investigating whether a 15th century painting, apparently sold by a Nazi art dealer, was stolen from Holocaust victims, museum officials said Wednesday. The work, called "Madonna and Child," is on display at the museum's Ahmanson Building.

At a U.S. State Department conference in 1998, representatives of 44 governments and 13 nongovernmental organizations agreed on comprehensive guidelines intended to identify artworks looted by Nazis during World War II. The guidelines included locating the original owners and settling claims.

All participating nations were urged to inventory each work in their museums and galleries. One of the goals of the conference was to create a master list of looted art.

The American Assn. of Art Museum Directors also urged members to study the provenance of all works created before 1945 that changed hands between 1933 and 1953.

Earlier in the month, Britain's National Museum Directors Conference listed more than 300 works that might have been stolen from Jews. American museums have had more difficulty creating a master list because they do not report to a central body.

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