The Hague city government has agreed to pay nearly $1.5 million for a 17th century painting by Dutch master Jan Steen, a work later cut in half and much later looted by Nazi henchman Hermann Goering in 1940.
Money for the work, “The Wedding Night of Tobias and Sarah,” (above) which now hangs in the Bredius Museum in The Hague, will go to the heir of a Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, whose gallery was looted by the Nazis at the beginning of World War II.
The painting itself, divided at someone unknown period prior to the 20th century, was in fragments until reunited by restorers in 1996. Goudstikker owned the left side of the painting, while the smaller right side, which depicted the Archangel Raphael, was owned by The Hague.
It wasn’t until the 20th century that art historians pieced the parts together as part of a larger work, by noticing that on the left side of the painting the tips of the archangel’s wings are visible in the top right corner. This proved that the two fragments belonged to the same painting.