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Austrian Panel Rejects Claim for Vermeer Bought by Hitler

An Austrian panel today rejected a claim for a Johannes Vermeer painting by the heirs of a man who sold it to Adolf Hitler, saying there was no evidence the sale was forced or that the seller was persecuted.

“The Art of Painting” is the most valuable picture in Vienna’s public collections and the only work by Vermeer in Austria. It’s housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Austria’s art restitution panel threw out the argument by the heirs of Jaromir Czernin that Hitler’s acquisition amounted to a “sale under duress” and should be nullified. The panel instead recommended that Austria keeps the painting.