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Rare Franz Marc painting goes on sale after returning to family that fled Nazis


A rare painting by German expressionist Franz Marc — returned last year from a museum to the descendents of a Jewish collector who fled the Nazis — is expected to set a new world record for the artist when it is offered for sale in an auction next month.

“The Foxes” (Die Fuchse), featuring two brightly coloured, intertwined foxes, is estimated to fetch around £35 million ($47 million) when it goes on sale at Christie’s in London on March 1.

“It’ll be an amazing moment for the art world because Franz Marc’s important pictures are incredibly rare,” Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president, said as the artwork went on display.

Marc, a leading figure of the German expressionist movement, was born in Munich in 1880 and died in the World War One battle of Verdun aged just 36. His short career means his body of work is small and very few of his paintings are in private hands.

“The Foxes” was purchased in 1928 by German-Jewish collector Kurt Grawi, who according to Christie’s was forced to sell it to help his family survive and flee Nazi Germany. The painting was later given to the Kunstpalast Museum in Dusseldorf.

“The picture was restituted to the family last year after a long process, and they had already made the decision that when they got it back, that it would be put onto the open market for the next great collector to have the opportunity to own it,” Pylkkanen said.

Marc “painted only 45 paintings in 1913, of which four are in private hands. This is a masterpiece that has been on show in a museum in Germany since 1962, so it really is a moment which several generations of collectors have been waiting for,” Pylkkanen said.

— Reuters

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