PARIS.- French authorities returned a painting by French master Henri Matisse titled "The Pink Wall" to its rightful owners. The work was seized by the Nazis in 1941 after its Jewish owner fled anti-Semitic persecutions in Germany. This work was one of many thousands of works stolen from Jewish families during the Second World War that later ended up in the custody of French authorities.
Culture Minister Christine Albanel stated at the ceremony, "To return this beautiful work by Matisse to its owners, the heirs of Mr Harry Fuld Jr, is an act of remembrance and reparation, at last."
The painting was recently exhibited and its owners had not been identified. In 1937 Harry Fuld Jr fled to Britain. A 1941 law stripped German Jewish emigrants of their citizenship and the Nazi regime seized the Matisse painting. The work was later found near the Tuebingen German town in 1948 left by SS officer Kurt Gerstein. The officer had taken his life in prison in 1945. The work was sent to France from where it had been exported in 1914. A German historian matched the missing work reported by Fuld to the Matisse one displayed on an Internet database set up by France to try and trace rightful owners.