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Berlin museum returns, then buys back Nazi-looted Pissarro

Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie museum hands back and repurchases a painting by French Impressionist Camille Pissarro looted by the Nazis from the collection of Jewish lawyer Armand Dorville.

Representatives of the Dorville family signed an agreement for the museum to return and buy back “Une Place a la Roche-Guyon” (“A Square in La Roche Guyon”), part of the Berlin institution’s permanent collection.

“I am very grateful to Armand Dorville’s heirs for making it possible for us to purchase the work for the Alte Nationalgalerie and for coming to Berlin especially for this purpose,” says Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK), which runs the Berlin museum.

He does not reveal how much the museum paid for the painting but says the family wanted it to remain on public display and the deal had been achieved in a spirit of “good cooperation.

Painted in 1867, “A Square in La Roche Guyon” was acquired by Armand Dorville in Paris in 1928.

After moving to the south of France, Dorville died in 1941 and his collection was distributed to museums and private collectors.

The family was unable to flee occupied France and most members were killed by the Nazis, who occupied the country in 1940-1944.

Several close relatives of Dorville’s brother Charles perished at Auschwitz.

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