Germany has returned two Nazi-looted late medieval panels to the heirs of a Jewish art collector, JTA reported on Wednesday.
The predella panels, found at the base of an altar, were owned by businessman Harry Fuld Sr. Dating from about 1455, the works by the Italian artist Giovanni di Paolo depict two scenes of the life of St. Clare of Assisi, according to the report.
They were in Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Gallery) and returned with the assistance of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the artnet website reported.
The foundation also has overseen the restitution to Fuld’s heirs of a late medieval alabaster relief in 2009 and two fabric fragments in 2012. The relief remains hanging in the Bode Museum in Berlin through an agreement with the heirs.
Fuld, who died in 1932, owned a Frankfurt-based company that produced and sold telephones. The Nazis expropriated the company from his wife, Lucie Mayer-Fuld, and his two sons. Mayer-Fuld fled to France and the sons to England.
In 1940 the two panels were bought by what was then called the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum and entered the national collection.
More than 500 items in Germany’s lost-art database are listed as belonging to Mayer-Fuld, including 13 paintings, 18 sculptures, and more than 482 craft and folk artworks.
In recent years, more and more artworks that were looted by Nazis during World War II have been returned to their rightful Jewish owners.
More than 1,500 artworks were discovered in 2012 in the possession of Munich pensioner Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a Third Reich-era art dealer.
Gurlitt, the son of an art dealer tasked by Adolf Hitler with helping to plunder great works from museums and Jewish collectors -- many of whom perished in the gas chambers -- left his vast collection to the Bern museum in Switzerland.
The museum accepted the collection after mulling the ethical implications, but left some 500 works of dubious provenance in Germany to allow a government-appointed task force to complete its research on identifying the heirs.
Germany has been sharply criticized for its "scandalous" handling of the Gurlitt art finds, as news of the discovery was only made public through a news report.