The Getty Museum said Tuesday it is returning a 17th century Dutch painting looted by the Nazis during World War II to the heirs of Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker.
Goudstikker fled the Netherlands just before the Nazis invaded the country in 1940, leaving behind a splendid art collection that included "Landscape with Cottage and Figures," painted around 1640 by Pieter Molijn.
"The Getty acquired the painting in good faith at auction in 1972, and has never exhibited the work," the museum said.
"Working in cooperation with representatives of the Goudstikker heirs, the Getty's research revealed that the painting was in Goudstikker's inventory at the time of the invasion in 1940, and that it was never restituted after World War II," it said.
"Based on its findings, the Getty concluded that the painting should be transferred to the heirs," it said.
Marei von Saher, Goudstikker's heir, has fought for years in the courts to recover the family's collection, which had been dispersed throughout the world.
"It is always encouraging to see an important cultural institution like the Getty Museum decide to do the right thing for Holocaust victims and their heirs," she said.
In mid-March, the Getty returned to Italy the "Venus di Morgantina," an archeological jewel, after a 30-year legal battle.
Founded by oil billionaire John Paul Getty, the Getty Museum boasts of being the world's richest art foundation, with assets valued in 2009 at 4.5 billion dollars.
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