September 24, 2016 - 16:12 AMT
Legendary art dealer Paul Rosenberg honored in Belgium exhibit

Legendary French art dealer Paul Rosenberg, who championed names such as Matisse, Picasso and Braque before being forced to flee Paris during the Second World War, is honoured in a new exhibition in Belgium, AFP reports.

The exhibition is based on a book written by Rosenberg's grand daughter, the renowned French political journalist Anne Sinclair, telling the story of his gallery and the iconic artworks that passed through it.

"My grandfather found himself at the crossroads of history," Sinclair told a press conference at the opening of the exhibition in the town of Liège on Wednesday.

Rosenberg opened his gallery in Paris at 21 rue La Boetie in 1910. He was a great proponent of the avant-garde movement and signed exclusive contracts with many of the era's rising stars.

But history saw Rosenberg, who was Jewish, forced to flee Paris with his family during the Second World War. He moved to New York, where he set up another gallery.

Returning to Paris after the war, Rosenberg attempted to track down the many paintings that had been stolen, destroyed or sold on by the Nazis.

The exhibition traces several, including a Matisse of a sitting woman taken by Hermann Goering. It later found its way to New York and Oslo, finally turning up in Paris again in an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou.

Every painting exhibited passed through Rosenberg's gallery at one point and the curators have taken pains to emphasise the historical context of the works.