Ronald Lauder, co-chairman of the Mauerbach sale committee and president of the cosmetics firm, Estée Lauder, has given back a sixteenth-century Italian embossed and damascened steel parade shield in his collection which has been discovered to be war booty. In 1550 the shield was presented by the people of Bergamo to Francesco Bernardo, commander of the Venetian armies. It is property of the Musei civici of Bologna and has been missing, with twenty-two other pieces of armour, since 1940. Mr Lauder returned the shield at once on being told by the Italian authorities that it was stolen. This is the first success for the Italian State’s revived initiative to recover works of art looted from its territory during the war This had been abandoned in the 1980s with the death of its energetic head, Rodolfo Siviero. In October 1995, the Poligrafico dello Stato in Rome published the complete list of some 250 missing works (for extracts see The Art Newspaper No. 52, October 1995, pp. 24-25, 45) and the carabiniers are working with the culture and foreign ministries to track them down.
Ronald Lauder gives looted shield back to Italy
Artifact had been missing from Bologna since 1940
1 December 1996