Painting of Ivan the Terrible supposedly 'destroyed' during WWII found hanging in Connecticut house

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By Euronews  with Reuters
"Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina" by Mikhail N. Panin
"Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina" by Mikhail N. Panin   -  Copyright  Embassy of Ukraine in the US

A 1911 oil painting of Ivan the Terrible that was long-believed to have been destroyed during World War II is to be returned to Ukraine after it was found hanging in a Connecticut house.

"Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichnina" by Mikhail N. Panin and depicting the famous 16th-century Russian czar went missing from the Dnipropetrovsk Art Museum in Ukraine during World War II.

But it was revealed to have hung for decades in a house in Connecticut, US, where it was passed from seller to seller, who were unaware of its history because it was considered too large to move.

It was discovered in 2017 when homeowners Gabby and David Tracy called a Virginia auction house to sell their art collection because they were downsizing and included the century-old painting in the lot.

Anne Craner, The Potomack Company's European paintings specialist, researched its origins to determine its value and confirmed that it was indeed Mikhail N. Panin's work which curators of the Dnipropetrovsk Art Museum had included in a list of works "taken to Germany by the Hitlerites".

She contacted the FBI's division dedicated to recovering stolen artwork which launched an official procedure. The Ukrainian embassy provided evidence to the court and the painting was on Monday handed over to the embassy ahead of its return trip to the eastern European country.

Gabby Tracy, a Holocaust survivor, was at the ceremony in Washington. She said that she and her husband "are very happy to give it back to the Ukrainian people and I hope one day we can go there and see it hanging in the museum."

The US embassy in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, congratulated US and Ukrainian law enforcement agencies with their joint efforts to repatriate the painting.

"We look forward to welcoming this painting back to Ukraine soon," it added.

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