Anita Halpin among beneficiaries of Neue Galerie restitution

The New York museum paid the Hess family “fair market value” to keep Nude in its collection

Anita Halpin, the journalist and former chair of the Communist Party of Britain, was among the heirs who benefitted from the Neue Galerie’s decision to repurchase a painting seized by Nazis, a lawyer for Halpin’s family said.

The work, Nude by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1914), was appropriated by the Nazis in the 1930s, during the flight of Halpin’s grandparents, Alfred and Tekla Hess, from Germany.

Ronald S. Lauder, the co-founder of the Neue Galerie, is a vocal proponent of the return of such works. The museum purchased Nude at auction in 1999 for $793,356 and, upon the recent discovery of its true provenance, paid the Hess family what The New York Times described as “its current fair market value” to keep the work in its collection.

In 2006, Halpin sold another such restituted work, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Berlin Street Scene (1913), for £20.5m.