By Cody Mello-Klein | [email protected]
A 1911 Ukrainian oil painting of Ivan the Terrible that was stolen during World War II and thought to be destroyed was sent back to Ukraine as part of The Potomack Company’s repatriation ceremony on Monday, according to a Potomack Company news release.
The painting came to the Alexandria-based auction gallery courtesy of the Gabby and David Tracy, a family looking to sell their artwork, according to the release. Among the couples’ collection was the “Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina.”
After the painting arrived at the Potomack gallery, fine arts specialist Anne Craner contacted a museum in Ukraine, which sent her photos of the very same painting and evidence that the painting had been included on a list of “artworks taken to Germany by Hitlerites.” The painting had been conveyed to the Tracys with their home, which they bought in 1987. The Tracys were unaware of the painting’s history, according to the release. Gabby Tracy is a Holocaust survivor and both members of the family agreed that the painting needed to be returned to its proper home, according to the release.
The Potomack Gallery arranged to return the painting to Ukraine and held a repatriation ceremony for the painting on Monday.