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Painting seized

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Munich (dpa) - A multi-million-dollar oil painting that was seized by the Nazis from a Holocaust victim and that has hung in Dresden's Neue Meister art gallery for 70 years has been sold to London's National Gallery, a Munich dealer confirmed Friday.

Curators at the German art gallery voiced disappointment at the loss of "Afternoon in the Jardin des Tuileries", painted by realist Adolph von Menzel, a key figure in Europe's romanticist movement and one of the so-called German New Masters.

Paintings by Menzel (1815-1905) are in galleries around the world. The Dresden oil, painted in 1867, was reportedly bought recently by U.S. collector Alfred Bader for some 3.3 million dollars. No price was disclosed for the onward sale to the London gallery.

"It's still not official. We are negotiating on the final price," said Munich art dealer Bruce Livie. He rejected newspaper reports that a price of 3.2 million pounds (5.5 million dollars) had been agreed.

The Jewish Claims Conference (JCC) sought restitution of the painting, which a Berlin Jewish woman was forced to sell to the Dresden gallery for a paltry price in 1935. She was apparently killed in the Holocaust following her imprisonment in 1942.

In 2004, government officials agreed. The Dresden gallery could not afford to purchase the painting back from the JCC, representing the heirs, and it was sold to Bader instead.

Livie said the National Gallery would lend the painting to Dresden for a show this month, but German curators said they did not set much store by the dealer's assurance that they could regularly borrow it in future.

Martin Roth, the gallery director, said, "I don't expect we'll be sharing it." He said the two galleries had a good relationship, "but I can't imagine any gallery that spends millions of dollars on a painting would let someone else keep it to display."

He added, "If Bader really cared about art, he would donate us some of the profit he made."

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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