Charlotte Foster


101-year-old reunited with painting looted by Nazis

101-year-old reunited with painting looted by Nazis

A Nazi-looted painting has been returned to its owner after being lost for 75 years. 

101-year-old Dutch woman Charlotte Bischoff van Heemskerck was reunited with the 1638 portrait of the Dutch merchant Steven Wolters, which was stolen by the Nazis during the occupation of The Netherlands in World War II. 

The painting had once hung in Charlotte’s childhood bedroom and was a much-loved possession of her father, who went into hiding after refusing to accept Nazi orders. 

Charlotte’s father had stored the painting in the Amsterdam Bank to protect it, where it was later stolen, along with countless other works, by Nazi invaders. 

The portrait was then lost for decades before being acquired by a private collector in Germany in 1971, where negotiations with the collector led to the painting being returned to Bischoff van Heemskerck in 2021.

Recalling the moment that she saw it again, she told the Guardian, “I was amazed.”

Charlotte’s father died in 1969, but she said he would have been “so happy that it came back”.

After treasuring the painting in her possession for six months, the family have decided to sell the portrait at Sotheby’s auction house in London, where it is expected to sell for between $50,000 and $90,000. 

She said: “I had five brothers and sisters. There are 20 offspring and they are very sweet, so I never had the feeling that it was mine. It’s from the family.”

Image credits: Getty Images

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