Stolen Jules Breton Painting Returns to France After a Century

  • Jules Breton's (1827-1906) "A Fisherman’s Daughter," 1876, oil on canvas, 100 x 70 cm, will return to Douai, France's Musée de la Chartreuse, on Oct.  13, 2011, after it was stolen by a German solider nearly 100 years ago.

    Jules Breton's (1827-1906) "A Fisherman’s Daughter," 1876, oil on canvas, 100 x 70 cm, will return to Douai, France's Musée de la Chartreuse, on Oct. 13, 2011, after it was stolen by a German solider nearly 100 years ago.

U.S. authorities are set to return the painting “A Fisherman’s Daughter / Mending the Nets” by noted French realist Jules Breton to the city of Douai, France, on Thursday. In a ceremony at the French Embassy in Washington, the painting, which was stolen from Douai’s Chartreuse Museum by a German soldier in 1918, will be repatriated.

New York’s Daphne Alazraki Fine Art Gallery, the most recent owner of the work, assisted with the painting's return as well as U.S. Customs and Interpol.

Alazraki is returning the work at no cost to the museum. The insurance value is 140,000 euros.

The painting was commissioned from the artist by the City of Douai in 1875. Around September 15th, 1918, the German army vacated the city, taking with it about 180 important works of art, including this painting.

After decades of searching, the museum was notified in the early 2000s that the Breton was appearing in a Sotheby's auction. It was withdrawn from auction, and after some legal wrangling, returned to an American collector. Subsequently, the painting was shipped to Maastricht and then to Cologne, Germany, for sale. A collector notified the museum of its whereabouts in Germany last year. Various galleries have handled the work over the years.

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