Add RFI to your home screen
© 2022 Copyright RFI – All rights reserved. RFI is not responsible for the content of external websites. Audience ratings certified by ACPM/OJD.
Issued on:
A painting by Marc Chagall entitled The Father, was sold on Tuesday at the Phillips auction house in New York for $7.4 million (7.1 million euros). The piece was among 15 works stolen by Nazis and eventually returned by France to the heirs of the affected families.
The sale at the Phillips auction house was part of the fall auction season, which sees major industry players sell hundreds of works of art for several billion dollars in a few days in the upscale neighborhoods of Manhattan.
Chagall’s 1911 oil on canvas, The Father, was purchased in 1928 by a Polish-Jewish violin maker, David Cender, who lost his possessions when he was forced to move to the Lodz ghetto.
Deported to Auschwitz, where his wife and daughter were killed, the violin maker survived and moved to France in 1958, where he died in 1966 without regaining possession of the painting.
In the meantime, the work had reappeared in exhibitions and it turned out that it was Marc Chagall himself who had bought it, probably between 1947 and 1953 without knowing its provenance, according to Phillips and the French culture ministry.
After the artist, who was born in the Russian empire, died in France in 1985, The Father entered the national collections in 1988, and was then assigned to the Pompidou Center and deposited in the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris.
The French parliament unanimously adopted a law at the beginning of the year to return 15 works of Jewish families looted by the Nazis. The then culture minister, Roselyne Bachelot, had called it a historic “first step,” noting that other looted works of art and books were still kept in public collections.
Cender’s heirs decided to sell the painting, a common scenario “when a work is restituted so long after it has been stolen,” because “you’ve got multiple heirs and the work itself cannot be split,” said Phillips deputy chairman Jeremiah Evarts.
Chagall painted the portrait of his father the year he arrived in Paris. He was “electrified by the modernism” of the city at the time and his works from that period are rare.
“Many of them were destroyed when he left Paris to return to Russia in 1914,” Evarts noted, saying he was certain “The Father” would attract interest from museums and collectors.
Phillips did not reveal details about who bought the work, a common practice among auction houses.
Read also: 
(with AFP)
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning
Keep up to date with international news by downloading the RFI app
Chagall painting stolen by Nazis to go under hammer in New York
French painter Pierre Soulages dead
Family feud casts shadow over future of Roman villa with Caravaggio mural
Major Giacometti museum and art school to open in central Paris in 2026
French festival celebrates diversity of vintage Indian cinema
France's national library celebrates Proust 100 years after his death
Eco-activists pour black liquid on Klimt masterpiece in Vienna's Leopold Museum
Eco-activists underestimate damage protests do to artworks, museums warn
Venezuelan photographer Fabiola Ferrero wins Carmignac Photojournalism Award
Story of personal tragedy wins France's prestigious Goncourt literature prize
Finalists of France's Goncourt literary prize unveiled from Beirut
Biopic of French politician and Holocaust survivor defies critics
French film on 1961 massacre of Algerians in Paris wins student Oscar
Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka wins coveted Booker Prize
American French film festival opens as Hollywood counts the cost of Covid
The content you requested does not exist or is not available anymore.


Shop Sephari