Iconic portrait of composer J.S. Bach returns to Germany

A copy of the portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach by painter Elias Gottlob Haussmann has returned to the German city of Leipzig.

BERLIN — A portrait of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach is being returned to his home city after a 250-year odyssey that took it as far as the United States.

The Bach Archive in Leipzig, Germany, said last week the painting is a bequest from late American William H. Scheide, a collector of the Baroque musician’s music. It was previously owned by the Jenke family, Jews who fled Nazi persecution to England in the 1930s.

Painted by Elias Gottlob Haussmann in 1748, the portrait is a well-preserved copy of a 1746 original that has suffered damage over time.

Leipzig’s mayor Burkhard Jung called the bequest a “great gift” that reflects Europe and its cultural history.