WARSAW - A marble bust of the Roman goddess Diana that was looted by the Nazis during World War II has returned to Poland after 75 years.
The 18th-Century statue was taken in 1940, but its whereabouts remained unknown until it emerged in a Vienna auction house earlier this year. The private collector who put the statue up for auction had now allowed it to return to Warsaw for good.
A female resident of Warsaw said that her grandfather had bought it while he was travelling in the ruins of post-war near Warsaw city in 1946. Poland’s government estimates that some 63,000 works of art remain missing after World War II.
The Associated Press said that seven other pieces were returned this year, but Polish Culture Minister Piotr Glinski said that discussions with Sweden to bring back objects taken when it invaded Poland in the 17th Century were proving difficult.
The last Polish king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski, bought the sculpture, made by the Frenchman Jean-Antoine Houdon, in the late 18th Century.
It had been expected to sell at auction for close to $270,000 and its return was the subject of months of negotiations. “It is wonderful to have her (goddess statue) back with us,” said Glinski, who called the statue ‘a masterpiece.’
The statue would be housed at Warsaw’s Lazienki Palace, where the last king lived.
NEO Web Desk