Council approves payout to heirs of artwork sold by force to Nazi regime

Councillor Archie Graham
Councillor Archie Graham, depute leader of Glasgow City Council

A council has approved a payout to a family whose artwork was sold to the Nazis.

Glasgow City Council has approved a spoliation claim made by the heirs of German widow Emma Budge pertaining to an artwork in the Burrell Collection which was given to the Nazis under a forced sale.

Sir William Burrell bought the 16th century piece, entitled “The Visitation” – a depiction of the Virgin Mary and Saint Elizabeth, future mother of Saint John the Baptist, which then became part of the Burrell Collection.

The artwork is a fragment from a tapestry which has been made into the shape of an ecclesiastical cope hood.

When Ms Budge died in February 1937, her family were forced to sell her collection of art to the Nazi regime.

They were paid nothing.

In the same year John Hunt acquired possession and sold it to Sir William Burrell in August 1938.

A panel dealing with spoilation claims in London recommended the council make an ex gratia payment to the heirs in exchange for which they would relinquish their right to the fragment.

Christies and Sotheby’s auction houses have valued the piece.

Councillor Archie Graham, depute leader of the council as well as chair of Glasgow Life, which operates the city’s museums and galleries said: “Glasgow has led the way in attempting to identify objects that may have been acquired as a result of Nazi atrocities and has been posting details of objects where provenance may not be certain on the UK Government’s website since 1998.

“In cases where a claim is proven, the city has always been resolute that it has a moral duty to put right the mistakes of the past, no matter how long the passage of time.”

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