Nazi-Looted Art: Artwork by Camille Pissarro Restituted and Reacquired for the Alte Nationalgalerie

19.10.2021
Alte Nationalgalerie

Une Place à la Roche-Guyon by Camille Pissarro will be returned to the heirs of Armand Dorville and reacquired for the Alte Nationalgalerie.

Representatives of the heirs of Armand Dorville visited the Alte Nationalgalerie today to sign the restitution and acquisition agreement for the artwork. The Nationalgalerie acquired the painting in 1961 via a London gallery. It originally came from the collection of the Jewish lawyer and art collector Armand Isaac Dorville (1875–1941) and will continue to be exhibited at the Alte Nationalgalerie in the future.

The Journey of Pissarro’s Painting Une Place à la Roche-Guyon

Armand Dorville acquired the painting in Paris in 1928. After the occupation of Paris by the Wehrmacht, he fled to the South of France in 1940, managing to take part of his collection with him. He lived in his château in Cubjac (Dordogne) until his death on 28 July 1941. Since he didn’t have any children, he appointed his three siblings and his four nieces as heirs. As Jews, they were also subjected to persecution by the Nazis during the Vichy regime. They sold the estate at various auctions.

In June 1942, Dorville’s heirs had the remaining part of his art collection auctioned off at the M. Terris auction house in Nice. Among the pieces sold was Une Place à la Roche-Guyon. The heirs were severely affected by persecution measures and were not able to access the proceeds from the auction. Some of them – including Dorville’s sister, her two daughters and her two granddaughters – were arrested, deported to Drancy and murdered in Auschwitz in 1944.

About Armand Dorville

Armand Isaac Dorville was born in Paris in 1875. He was a socially committed lawyer, and a well-known public figure in Paris, and indeed right throughout France. A passionate art collector, he was also a patron of the arts and frequently loaned pieces from his collection to galleries and museums. For example, the painting Une Place à la Roche-Guyon was exhibited on loan at the Musée de l’Orangerie in February and March 1930. Dorville’s art collection comprised around 450 works, including those by Renoir, Bonnard, Vallotton, Vuillard, Delacroix, Manet, Guys and Forain.

About the Painting Une Place à la Roche-Guyon by Camille Pissarro

Ident. no. NG 75/61; 1867, oil on canvas; 50 x 61 cm

The painting is on permanent display at the Alte Nationalgalerie and will be exhibited in alternating contexts. Pissarro was admired as the eldest of the Impressionists and was an important precursor to the movement. Une Place à la Roche-Guyon will therefore sometimes be shown alongside other works by Pissarro in the gallery of Impressionist painting and sometimes in the gallery on the development of plein air painting, along with artists from the Barbizon school.

The artist held onto the painting until his death. The Nationalgalerie (West) acquired the work in 1961 from the London art gallery Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd. For the period between the 1942 auction and the 1961 acquisition, provenance has not been fully clarified.