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August 03, 2016

Ronald Lauder’s Gallery May Hold Work Looted by Nazis

Philanthropist Ronald Lauder, who has helped lead global efforts to track down art plundered by the Nazis and return it to Jewish owners, is stepping up efforts to establish the provenance of works in his Manhattan museum, writes The New York Times. As a result of the research, the Neue Galerie is expected to announce soon that a major piece in its collection, as yet unidentified, has a clouded history and may be restituted.

The nonprofit gallery was co-founded by Mr. Lauder in 2001 and draws on his collection of Austrian and German works from the decades before World War II. As chairman of the Commission for Art Recovery, the cosmetics heir has been the public face of the movement to return art to the descendants of Jews from whom it was stolen during the Nazi era.

Some scholars and restitution advocates have criticized the Neue Galerie, saying its own practices for determining and disclosing provenance have lacked transparency. The museum has hired additional experts and is overhauling its website to provide more details about its holdings. Mr. Lauder would not identify the disputed work but said negotiations for its return were being finalized.