Just a post for any members intrested in fine Art. Mention the name Nazi and a whole new world of intrest seems to crop up.

This from www.telegraph.co.uk

The fog of war may have begun to lift 62 years ago but pockets linger on - not least in the art world where the theft and mayhem of the Nazis still cast a shadow

This time the exploits of a daring woman war reporter, the US 101st Airborne Division - the Screaming Eagles of D-Day renown, a hoard of art plundered by Hermann Goering and a day in charge of Hitler's Alpine lair have left the National Gallery with a headache over one of its most popular paintings.

Cupid Complaining to Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a Renaissance masterpiece worth millions, may have to be given up by the gallery after claims that it was looted by the Nazis and then grabbed by Patricia Lochridge Hartwell, a war correspondent for Women's Home Companion magazine, in 1945.

Miss Hartwell, who was with the Screaming Eagles in Germany after the bloodbath of Omaha Beach, is thought to have taken the painting when she was given control of Hitler's former residence for a day by Lt Col Robert S Smith of the 101st Airborne, an experience she wrote about in an article titled: "I governed Berchtesgaden."

Because he was a German artist, Cranach's works were prized by Reichsmarschall Goering as he looted his way across Europe. Some of his hoard, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, was taken to Berchtesgaden by fleeing Nazis before the Americans got there.

Texas-born Hartwell, who was 29 at the time, wrote of her day in charge: "As governor, I found I was also responsible for the safety of Goering's one hundred million dollars' worth of stolen art."

Her son, Jay Hartwell, told The Art Newspaper that his mother had been told she could help herself from a warehouse full of art. As well as taking the Cranach, Hartwell, who died in Hawaii in 1998, is also said to have had one of Goering's military sashes turned into a hat and handbag. The Cranach was painted in about 1525 and depicts Cupid complaining to Venus about being stung by bees while stealing a honeycomb, illustrating the moral that "life's pleasure is mixed with pain".

Records show that it once belonged to a Frankfurt collector called Emil Goldschmidt and was sold by a Berlin auctioneer in 1909. It is believed the painting was bought by a Jewish family but was then looted by the Nazis.

The National Gallery, which bought it in good faith in New York in 1963 for £34,000, has now added it to a list of works with "incomplete provenance" during the war and is appealing for information about who the real owners may have been.

But if they or their descendants are traced, they would be entitled to make a multi-million pound compensation claim or demand the return of the painting. Charles Saumarez Smith, the gallery's director, said: "As soon as we knew that the story behind the Cranach was in some way different from what we had been led to believe, we made it known."

Anne Webber, of the The Commission for Looted Art in Europe, said: "One would hope and expect the National Gallery to undertake research as comprehensively as possible to identify its owners. But it may be that the family and the records were destroyed by the Nazis."