Three "Lost" German Paintings
January 13 – February 28, 1967
Main Floor, Lobby D
This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.
Overview: These paintings, a 1643 Self-Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Man by Gerard ter Borch, and Portrait of a Young Woman by Johann Tischbein, had been cut from their frames and taken from the Weimar Museum by two German soldiers on April 28, 1922. For 12 years there was no record of them, until they appeared in the possession of a man in Ohio who kept them in his attic thinking they were copies. His wife came upon the paintings in 1938 and in 1945 took them to the Dayton Art Institute where they were soon identified. A year later the Department of Justice claimed them as alien property and sent them to the National Gallery for safekeeping. Special legislation authorized the United States to return the pictures to Germany, and the paintings were exhibited briefly at the Gallery, where they were treated for damage and framed. Most of the damage occurred because they had been rolled for several decades.