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A painting by Claude Monet in the collection of the Kunsthaus Zurich is to go on sale after the museum reached a settlement with the heirs of the Jewish textiles manufacturer Carl Sachs, who fled to Switzerland from Nazi Germany in 1939.

The 1865/1867 painting, L’homme a l’ombrelle (Man with Umbrella), was the first painting Sachs sold just weeks after he arrived in Switzerland, according to a press release from the Kunsthaus. He and his wife Margarete Sachs, who were important arts patrons in their home city of Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland), were permitted to take just 10 Reichsmarks each with them when they left Germany.

They had already sent some paintings, including the Monet, to Switzerland in 1934. These works were on loan to the Kunsthaus. The Monet was one of 13 paintings Sachs sold after arriving in Switzerland before his death in 1943. “A sale at short notice was necessary to secure the livelihood of the Sachs couple, making this a duress situation,” the Kunsthaus said in the release.

“The heirs of the Sachs family welcome the willingness of the Zurich Kunstgesellschaft (the trustees of the Kunsthaus) to find a fair and just solution for this work that Carl Sachs was forced to sell after emigrating to Switzerland,” said Imke Gielen, the Berlin lawyer who represents the heirs.

Kristin Steiner, a spokesperson for the Kunsthaus, said a decision on when and where the painting will be sold has not yet been taken. However, the museum’s share of the revenue cannot be used to help the Kunsthaus reduce its deficit, she said—instead, according to Icom rules, income from sales must be reinvested in the collection.

The foundation that owns the Kunsthaus said earlier this year that its operating debt had increased to CHF4.46m ($5m), largely as a result of a jump in overhead costs after the opening of a new extension in 2021.

The Kunsthaus Zurich announced that it would start taking a more proactive approach to provenance research and restitution in October 2022. The new policy includes considering works sold outside areas under Nazi occupation as eligible for “fair and just solutions” under certain circumstances.

This represents a departure from normal practice in Switzerland, where works sold by Jewish collectors after fleeing have historically not in general been treated as cases for restitution.

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