Van Gogh artwork looted by Nazis to be auctioned in New York

NEW YORK, A Vincent van Gogh watercolor that was seized during World War II by the Nazis will be auctioned next month in New York. It is expected to sell for $20 million or more, Christie's announced.

Van Gogh artwork looted by Nazis to be auctioned in New York

NEW YORK, A Vincent van Gogh watercolor that was seized during World War II by the Nazis will be auctioned next month in New York. It is expected to sell for $20 million or more, Christie's announced.

After facilitating negotiations between two Jewish art collectors and the heirs to the Texas oilman's 1888 work, "Wheatstacks", Christie's will auction it off. A spokesperson for Christie's said that the details of the settlement were confidential.

"Wheatstacks," along with other artworks, will be up for auction Nov. 11, together with others from the collection Edwin L. Cox. Cox was a Texas oilman who passed away last year at the age of 99.

Three haystacks are seen towering above harvest workers on a sunny summer day.

It was bought by Max Meirowsky in 1913. He fled Nazi persecution in Germany in 1938 to seek asylum in Amsterdam.

Meirowsky gave "Wheatstacks", a Paris-based art dealer to whom he sold it to Alexandrine De Rothschild, a member the renowned Jewish banking clan.

Rothschild fled to Switzerland during World War II. Her art collection, which included the Van Gogh watercolor, were confiscated by Nazis during the Occupation.

It's not clear where the artwork was located between the end of World War II and the 1970s. However, Cox purchased it from the Wildenstein gallery in New York in 1978.

Giovanna Bertazzoni (Vice Chair of 20th and 21st Century Art at Christie's), called the artwork one the most powerful Van Gogh works ever to be sold on the open marketplace.

She said that "Everything is amazing: The iconic subject, perfect gouache condition, intensity of ink in trademark cross-hatchings, twirls defining landscape, and the ambitious scale of composition."

The auction will take place before the watercolor is on display at Christie's in London, Oct 17-17, 21. This marks the first public exhibition of the watercolor since the 1905 van Gogh retrospective at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

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