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Lotte Laserstein painting at the Belvedere

Rediscovered 'degenerate' painting on show at Belvedere

A painting that was rediscovered in 2012, decades after it was seized by the Nazi's for being 'degenerate', is on display at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna.

"Im Gasthaus" by German-Swedish artist Lotte Laserstein was painted in 1927 and bought by the Berlin city council the following year but later branded by the Nazi's as 'degenerate' art, despite the fact that it does not obviously fit into this description.

The painting details a profile of a woman sitting alone in a tavern with a beer. Some analysts have suggested the Nazi's may have seized the painting because the woman featured in it was not the typical portrayal of feminine beauty preferred in that era, or it may have been because Laserstein was thought to be partly Jewish.

It is understood that the painting was held by collector Bernhard Böhmer during that era, until he killed himself at the end of the war. It then is believed to have been passed down to his son Peter Böhmer who lived until 2007. The artist Laserstein who died in the nineties never saw her original painting again, owning just a photograph of it.

The piece reappeared, unrecognised, in an auction in Munich in June 2012. It was recognised by bidders, one of whom paid 110,000 Euros and who has now given it on loan to the "Vienna-Berlin: the Art of Two Cities" exhibition that is on at the Belvedere until 15 June.

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