Germany said Saturday it will return to Italy a painting by Dutch artist Jan van Huysum that was stolen by Nazi troops during World War II.
The government said in a statement that Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero will travel to Florence soon to hand the still-life “Vase of Flowers” back to the Uffizi Gallery.
Its director, Eike Schmidt, had made a public appeal for the return of the painting earlier this year.
The oil painting, a still-life which measures 47×35 cm (18×14 inches), had been part of the Pitti Palace collection in Florence from 1824 until the outbreak of World War II. It was stolen by German troops and didn’t surface again until after Germany’s reunification.
After being shipped to Germany the work’s whereabouts remained unknown until 1991, after Germany was reunified.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the family that currently possesses the painting would be compensated.
Van Huysum was a well-known specialist of still-life paintings. In January Schmidt appealed to Berlin asking that the painting be returned and saying at the time that until it is “the wounds of the Second World War and Nazi terror will not be healed.”
In the meantime, a black and white copy of “Flower Vase” was hung at the Uffizi Gallery, with the word “stolen” in English, German, and Italian on it.
A brief explanation tells visitors that the work was stolen by Nazi soldiers in 1944 and is now in a German private collection.