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Thursday, July 8, 1999 Published at 06:37 GMT 07:37 UK


Entertainment

Looted art goes to auction

The collection contains furniture by Jean-Henri Riesner

The Rothschild art collection, which was seized by the Nazis during the war, is due to be auctioned at Christie's in London on Thursday.

Reported to be worth £20m, it is believed to be the biggest single-owner collection to be sold in the UK.

It includes three paintings by Dutch master Frans Hals, who was Rembrandt's greatest rival.

One of the most striking portraits by Hals is the Amsterdam Merchant, Tieleman Roosterman. It is expected to sell for £3.5 million.

Stored in salt mines

The sale includes a royal commode by Jean-Henri Riesener, which was supplied to King Louis XVI in 1778.

There are also two 16th Century manuscripts, including the Rothschild Prayerbook, which contains 67 full page miniatures including work by Gerard Horenbout and Simon Bening, and is expected to sell for £3m.

The collection was formed by Baron Nathaniel Rothschild, who died in 1905. Ownership then passed to his brother and fellow collector, Baron Albert.

In 1938, the treasures were seized by the German Reich within hours of the German Anschluss with Austria. They were then stored in salt mines for years.

The collection was returned to the family's heirs earlier this year.





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