Magazine article Tablet Magazine

A Blood-Stained Renoir on Exhibit in Paris

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

A Blood-Stained Renoir on Exhibit in Paris

Article excerpt

Mademoiselle's pale eyes are flecked silver and blue, gazing with such melancholy that the delicate girl in a Renoir portrait seems to foretell her own family tragedy. Yet most visitors study the 1880 "Portrait of Mademoiselle Irene Cahen d'Anvers" with no clue as to the dark history of the painting that was plundered and turned into a trading chip during the German occupation of France during World War II. The painting is part of a new exhibition of the collection of Emil Buhrle at the Musee Maillol in Paris through July that features about 50 works by Renoir, Degas, and Manet that were partly amassed by the German arms manufacturer during a period in which he dealt weapons and art to the Nazis.

"La Petite Irene," which once hung in the grand Parisian mansions of Irene's Sephardic art-collecting relatives, was looted in July 1941 by German forces from the Chambord chateau in the Loire Valley where various Jewish collectors sent precious works for safekeeping alongside the Louvre's state-owned collection. …

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