A Renaissance painting that was the subject of a restitution battle is now on loan to the Getty Museum. Christ Carrying the Cross, a major work of Girolamo Romanino (c. 1542), had been stolen from Federico Gentili di Giuseppe, an Italian Jew living in Paris, and sold in a Nazi-forced 1942 sale. In 1998 the painting was donated to Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera. The Pinacoteca rebuffed the Gentili heirs’ claims to the painting. But in 2011 the Milan museum lent the Romanino to the obscure (and now defunct) Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, Tallahassee.
While on view in Florida, the heirs of Gentili sued for the Romanino’s return in U.S. courts. They prevailed in April 2012. In June the family sold the painting at Christies New York for $4.56 million. It is now in the Alana Collection, Newark, Delaware, which has lent it to the Getty. For the time being, it fills wall space vacated by the Getty’s Titian Portrait of Alfonso d’Avalos, which is being lent to the Cleveland Museum of Art for its 2016 centennial.
Incidentally, Gentili also owned Tiepolo’s Alexander the Great and Campaspe in the Studio of Apelles, which was acquired by the Louvre in 1950, restituted to the family in 1999, and bought by the Getty in 2000.
Also on view at the Getty is James Ensor‘s Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise (1887). Owned by Antwerp’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts and featured in the 2014 Ensor show, it debuts after nips and tucks by Getty conservators. Ensor admired Turner, and this is one of his closest approaches to the British artist’s brand of late style abstraction.
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