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Painting Looted by Nazis Turns Up in Ohio Home

Portrait of a Young Man was returned to Poland last week
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2015 7:05 PM CDT
Painting Looted by Nazis Turns Up in Ohio Home
Krzysztof Lubieniecki's "Portrait of a Young Man"   (FBI)

A nearly 300-year-old painting stolen from Poland's National Museum by the Nazis during WWII was found in July hanging in an Ohio family's home, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Krzysztof Lubieniecki's Portrait of a Young Man is believed to have been looted by Nazi troops—like 70% of Poland's art—before ending up in a castle in Austria, where an American serviceman found it. He took it home to Ohio, and his widow sold it to Janis and John Bobb in 1990, according to CBS News. John is an art aficionado and loves Baroque paintings. “This one just happened to have a hell of a story,” he tells the Dispatch.

While conducting genealogy research, a relative of the serviceman came across photos of the painting and thought it could be stolen, according to an FBI press release. He contacted Polish authorities, and the Bobbs got a bit of a surprise in July. “It’s not every day we get a phone call from the FBI,” Janis tells the Dispatch. The Bobbs, who the FBI believes were unaware the painting was stolen, handed it over to Polish authorities last Thursday. CBS reports Janis was nearly in tears when she heard it would be returned to the National Museum. “We had enjoyed it for 20-some years,” she tells the Dispatch. “My husband and I travel a lot. We visit museums all over the world. I think that we appreciate the fact that it should be back at the museum again.” The couple plans on attending the painting's rededication ceremony in Warsaw. (Read more art stories.)

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