"Murnau mit Kirche II", by Wassily Kandinsky

The painting was recently recovered by the heirs of its owner, a German Jew killed by the Nazis. Kandinsky’s masterpiece, Murnau Mit Kirche II, sold for nearly 42 million euros on Wednesday evening in London, a new auction record for this artist according to Sotheby’s. « Kandinsky’s early works are rarely put on the market, the majority of them being in the major collections of museums around the world », highlighted the auction house.

This work by Vassily Kandinsky, about one meter by one meter, offers a colorful vision of the German village of Murnau, its pointed roofs and the spire of its church, stretched just like the peaks of the Bavarian Alps. This oil on canvas, painted in 1910, a pivotal moment in the work of the Russian painter, has long adorned the dining room of Johanna Margarete and Siegbert Stern, founders of a prosperous textile company.

Found ten years ago
If Siegbert Stern died of natural causes in 1935, his wife Johanna Margarette had to flee persecution and Germany before finally being the victim of the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis in Auschwitz in May 1944. ‘It’s been almost 10 years since Murnau Mit Kirche II was identified in a museum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, where it had been since 1951. It was returned last year to the Stern heirs, whose 13 survivors will share the proceeds of the sale.

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