A Krzysztof Lubieniecki painting, long thought lost and stolen by Nazis, is being returned to its home country of Poland, the FBI reports. The painting, “Portrait of a Young Man,” was believed to have been looted and taken to Austria.
However, the painting won’t be traveling to Poland from Austria, but rather from the unlikely state of Ohio. A U.S. serviceman traveling abroad is said to have discovered the painting and brought it back with him to the United States upon completion of his service, where he kept the piece for many years.
Then, “Portrait” was purchased by unwitting buyers in the Ohio area, where the portrait lived for many years. But recently, a relative of the soldier who brought the painting to the U.S. discovered photos of the lost painting, which until now has only existed in pictures and documents of looted artwork.
The relative then contacted the Polish government that he had discovered Lubieniecki’s work, and its current owners agreed to return the painting to its native country.
“We are honored to return this painting to the Polish government and the National Museum,” Special Agent in Charge Angela Byers said in a statement. “This was truly a cooperative effort among the U.S. government and our international partners to ensure this work of art was returned to its homeland.”
A repatriation ceremony was held at the FBI’s Columbus Resident Agency where the painting was handed over to the Polish Ministry of Cultural and National Heritage, an organization which works to find and recover cultural properties taken during World War II.
“Portrait of a Young Man” was painted sometime around 1728; Lubieniecki is classified as a Baroque artist and engraver who had been an active part of the Dutch Golden Age in Amsterdam, during which time Dutch trade, science, military, and art were of highest acclaim around the world.