The Institute of Archeology of the University of Zurich returns two Egyptian portraits to their heirs

The Institute of Archeology of the University of Zurich returns two Egyptian portraits to their heirs

In 1933, Erna Felicia and Hans-Mosse Lachmann were legally deprived of two objects belonging to their family after the Nazis came to power in Germany.

It was about two portraits painted on wood of a young woman and a young man, which until now belonged to the archaeological collection of the University of Zurich. Of these works, it should be noted that they have not been appraised since the works that the Institute of Archeology has are never for sale.

¿How they ended up at the University of Zurich? This entity acquired these two objects in 1979 along with seven other different portraits, for which it paid at that time about 220,000 Swiss francs, a purchase that was approved by the Government at that time.

Today, the archaeological collection of the University of Zurich includes approximately 6,600 ancient objects as well as 1,500 plaster casts of ancient sculptures. Among its objects are 12 portraits of the mummy that was portrayed.

In addition to having been studied, the portraits were investigated to find out where they had come from and in this way to be able to identify the possible previous owners, not knowing that they had legal owners and that they were alive.

Thanks to continuous research, in 2015 it was possible to discover who the owners were and also that the portraits were seized by people related to the Nazi party, who auctioned them publicly with thousands of other objects, also seized, and with which they would be financed later.

When they were auctioned in 1934, the legal owners of those portraits had already fled Germany in anticipation of what was to come.

As soon as the University of Zurich put all the pieces of the puzzle together, it contacted the heirs of the expropriated owners to offer them a consensus solution. What was achieved was that the heirs made a financial contribution to the teaching and research work of the school, and the school would return their portraits.

This is a specific case, or at least that is how the University of Zurich has defined it, who assure that although they no longer have the portraits with them since they were returned to their legal owners, they have had the opportunity to investigate the portraits and learn about more details about them.

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