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#542

Portrait of a Man

Cranach der Jüngere, Lucas (1515-1586) | Painter

Material & Technique
Oil on beech panel
Museum
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
Dating
1544
Inventory number
Gal.-Nr. 1917 A

The portrait, acquired for the Gemäldegalerie in 1917, bears witness to the eventful history of the 20th century. Even before the beginning of the Second World War, the paintings had been taken down and the gallery closed to visitors. In the course of the following war years, the museums' holdings were evacuated to more than forty depots in and outside Dresden: to museum cellars, castles, railroad tunnels, and mines. Shortly before and after the end of the war, looting by the population, liberated forced laborers and war prisoners, and members of the Red Army took place at various storage sites.

Dresden’s war losses have appeared on the international art market since the 1950s. One of the first paintings that returned to Dresden in this – often lengthy – manner, was Portrait of a Man by Lucas Cranach the Younger. It was probably stolen from the Pockau-Lengefeld storage site. It was transported to London via Prague, where it was up for auction by Christie’s on 7 March 1958. After an appeal by the GDR government, the subsequent court case in London confirmed the Dresden State Art Collections as the rightful owners.

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