A 19th century painting that was looted by the Nazis during World War II and recovered by the FBI in Pennsylvania has returned home to Poland, reports the AP. It was publicly unveiled Wednesday by members of both the American and Polish governments in a ceremony that marked one of the latest recoveries of a cultural object by Poland, which saw much of its cultural patrimony destroyed or looted during the country's wartime occupation by Nazi Germany. Poland's Culture Minister Piotr Glinski and the US ambassador to Poland, Paul Jones, presented the small painting by Polish artist Robert Sliwinski in Warsaw; it was handed over to a rep from the National Museum in Wroclaw.
The picture, showing a village street scene with the ruins of a castle in the background, was found after being put up for sale at an internet auction. Glinski and Jones were joined by FBI agents who helped recover the painting from a town near Philadelphia, acting on a tip from Poland's government. It wasn't clear how the painting ended up in the United States, though a rep for the FBI's Philadelphia Field Office tells NPR that the person who had it had no idea it was Nazi-looted art. "We're just gratified that we were able to return to Poland a piece of cultural heritage," she says. Another painting by a 19th century Polish artist—"Sword Dance" by Henryk Siemiradzki—was withdrawn Tuesday from a Sotheby's auction at the request of Poland's Culture Ministry, which believes the work was taken out of the country illegally.
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