The national gallery of canada returns a painting by Édouard Vuillard to the Lindon family in France
Ottawa - October 18, 2006
On the recommendation of the Acquisitions Committee and National Gallery Director Pierre Théberge, the Board of Directors of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) approved the de-accessioning of the painting by French artist Édouard Vuillard and its return to the Lindon family of France. The work was part of a collection stolen from Alfred Lindon, a French businessman of Jewish descent who died in 1948, and his son Jacques, an art dealer.
The painting, Le Salon de Madame Aron, an oil on paper, mounted on wood, was purchased by the NGC in 1956 from the Galerie Dubourg in Paris. The first attempt to document the work, in the 1970s, revealed that it had belonged to a collector named Bellanger and later to Paul Strecker, who died in 1950. In 1997 the original typewritten Répertoire des biens spoliés en France durant la guerre 1939-1945 was republished and widely circulated. Mention of a work by Jean [sic] Vuillard entitled Intérieur, belonging to the Lindon family, led to further research. A few years later a first attempt to restore the painting to the family is made. In 2000, Jacques Lindon twice refused the painting, which he said had never belonged to him or to his family. The painting was then listed on the Provenance Research Project page of the National Gallery of Canada website. Three years later, the National Gallery received proof from the French government that Jacques Lindon’s father, Alfred, had indeed owned the painting in 1940. Represented by Denis Lindon, the family undertook legal proceedings and the Salon de Madame Aron became theirs once again.
“Seeking information is often a very difficult task for the families involved,” says Pierre Théberge. “It is a long and demanding process that can extend over several generations. Because the Gallery is conscious of its ethical obligations in this regard, we publish the list of all the European paintings and sculptures in our collection that have incomplete provenances for the period from 1933 to 1945, on our Internet site. This is the first claim we have had from a victim of the Nazi spoliation, and we are proud to contribute to the reparation process by returning the Lindon family’s property.”
In accordance with the “Guidelines Governing the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects during the Nazi Era”, adopted by the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization (CAMDO), the NGC began its Provenance Research Project in 1998. The information is accessible to the public on the Gallery’s website, at http://www.gallery.ca/cybermuse/enthusiast/provenance/index_e.jsp.