Painting stolen by Nazi regime, featured in NY museum to be returned to family

Mosse died in 1920 and his wife died in 1924, leaving the paintings to his daughter Felicia Lachmann-Mosse and her husband Hans.

"Winter" by Gari Melchers (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
"Winter" by Gari Melchers
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A painting that has been featured in a New York museum for over half a century has been recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) after it discovered the artwork was stolen from a Jewish family by the Nazi regime before World War II, according to the agency.
The painting, "Winter" by Gari Melchers, was being displayed at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York, until last month when the FBI discovered the story of how the museum came to be in possession of the stolen artwork.
According to court reports, a German-Jewish publisher by the name of Rudolof Mosse procured the painting directly from the Melchers in 1900 at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition - he was the owner of the Berliner Tageblatt newspaper, known for being critical of the Nazi Party.
Mosse died in 1920 and his wife died in 1924, leaving the paintings to his daughter Felicia Lachmann-Mosse and her husband Hans.
Mosse collected nearly 200 pieces of art during his lifetime, which were auctioned off by a dealer known to work with the Nazi regime on many occasions.
Fearing persecution by the Nazi government for being Jewish and their ownership of her father's left-wing newspaper, Lachmann-Mosse and the rest of her family left Germany in 1933.
Their assets were then subsequently seized by the German government and auctioned off through a third party. The family was never given proper compensation for the stolen artwork, while the Nazi regime used the profits to fund their campaign throughout Europe. In turn, the artwork was defined as unrestituted property by FBI investigators.
The artwork eventually ended up in New York and was sold to Bartlett Arkell in 1934 through a reputable art gallery. Arkell owned countless pieces of art which he procured over his lifetime for his own personal collection. He decided to display his collection for the world to see after his paintings garnered some notoriety and opened up the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, where the painting "Winter" was located for decades.
"The Arkell Museum was of course very upset to learn the history of the painting's seizure from the Mosse family by the Nazis in 1933 and its subsequent sale at the Lepke auction in 1934," said Arkell's Executive Director and Chief Curator Suzan D. Friedlander, in a statement to the press. "[The Museum] willingly turned the painting over to the FBI, waiving all right, title, and interest in the painting."
According to CNN, the remaining heirs of Lachmann-Mosse's estate have joined together with the Free University of Berlin to create the Mosse Art Research Initiative - building a database of looted arts, successfully returning eight while procuring information on "dozens" more.
"We have been part of making something right, at long last, and take that responsibility very seriously and to heart," Friedlander said, expressing her backing for the family's initiative.
The painting will be returned to the family after processing, according to the FBI.