Wartime Cupid may have to go home

The fog of war may have begun to lift 62 years ago but pockets linger on -- not least in the art world where the theft and mayhem of the Nazis still cast a shadow.

This time the exploits of a daring woman war reporter, the US 101st Airborne Division -- the Screaming Eagles of D-Day renown, a hoard of art plundered by Hermann Goering, and a day in charge of Hitler's Alpine lair have left the National Gallery with a headache over one of its most popular paintings.

Cupid Complaining to Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a Renaissance masterpiece worth millions, may have to be given up by the gallery after claims that it was looted by the Nazis and then grabbed by Patricia Lochridge Hartwell, a war correspondent for Women's Home Companion magazine, in 1945.

Miss Hartwell, who was with the Screaming Eagles in Germany after the bloodbath of Omaha Beach, is thought to have taken the painting when she was given control of Hitler's former residence for a day by Lt Col Robert S Smith of the 101st Airborne, an experience she wrote about in an article titled:"I governed Berchtesgaden."...

[Hartwell died in 1998. The painting was purchased by the National Gallery in 1963 for £34,000 and has soared in value, reported The Times.]

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