Lonely Planet Writer

El Greco painting back with owners 70 years after Gestapo theft

An almost priceless masterpiece by El Greco, the 16th century artist, which was stolen by the Nazis has has been reunited with its rightful owners seven decades later.

The El Greco Connection
The El Greco Connection Image by Son of Groucho / CC BY 2.0

The painiting – ‘A Portrait of a Gentleman’ – had vanished in 1944 when the Gestapo raided the collection of a Jewish banker in Vienna. Mr Julius Priester, a prominent art collector, was forced to flee to Paris some six years previously when Austria had been annexed into Germany.

Mr Priester and his wife then moved to Mexico City but through their lifetime never gave up hope of finding the 50 stolen works. MailOnline reported that he continued to hunt for the collection until his death in 1954. His family then took up the cudgel and the 70-year search was rewarded when it was seen on sale through a London art dealer in 2014.

Although it is virtually impossible to value the painting, the world record price for an El Greco stands at £9.2million. El Greco died in April 1614 and nowadays his paintings sell for millions.