In London, Christie’s Auction House will be auctioning a painting by Vincent van Gogh that is expected to sell between $20 and $30 million.
According to the New York Times, the watercolor, which hasn’t been exhibited since 1905, was seized by the Nazis during World War II.
“Meules de Blé,” a bright-colored image of a French farm, was created by the famous painter in 1888.
Max Meirowsky (a Jewish manufacturer in Berlin) purchased the property in 1913. Meirowsky fled Germany after the Nazis had taken power in 1938 and left it in the care of Paul Graupe, an artist from Germany.
Alexandrine de Rothschild, a Frenchwoman, purchased the painting from him. The New York Times reports that he fled France to escape World War II. After the German invasion of France, Nazis took the painting.
Then, the piece went to the Jeu de Paume, a Nazi sorting house, and the Schloss Kogl castle.
The following decades of the watercolor’s path are unclear, but in 1978, Texan oil businessman Edwin Cox purchased it from the gallery of Wildenstein & Co. in New York.
Part of the proceeds from the forthcoming sale is going to the Cox family. Rest will be given to two Jewish families whose predecessors had the work.
Christie’s vice chairman of 20th and 21st-century art, Giovanna Bertazzoni, describes the watercolor as “tour de force of exceptional quality.”
They add that this sale could set an auction record for work on paper by Vincent van Gogh. Currently, the highest price for an item is $14.7 million for “La Moisson en Provence,” sold in 1997.