Following its restitution to the heir of the painting's original owner, Sotheby's will offer it for sale as part of their Bond Street evening sale of Impressionist & Modern Art on June 24 with an estimate of £350,000-550,000.
Zwei Reiter was first shown in public the year it was painted in 1901 when it was acquired by the Breslau industrialist and art collector David Friedmann (1857-1942). His great nephew David Toren, 90, who lives in New York, recalls seeing the painting on the day after Kristallnacht as Friedmann prepared to sign over his country estate in a forced sale to a high-ranking Nazi official.
"We travelled in the Gestapo's open-top Mercedes that collected my father and took us to my uncle's home. I was instructed to wait outside the room in which the paperwork was being signed, and it was there, in the conservatory, that I sat opposite the beautiful painting of the two horse riders on the beach. I had always liked horses, and it was on my uncle's estate that I had learned to ride, so I very much admired this painting. That was the last time I saw the work."
In July 1942, four months after David Friedmann had died, Zwei Reiter was sold at auction for 1600 Reichsmarks and soon after was acquired by the art dealer Dr Hildebrandt Gurlitt.
It was among the cache of 1406 paintings found in his son's Munich apartment in February 2012.
Cornelius Gurlitt died in 2014, having bequeathed the collection to the Kunstmuseum Bern and committed to returning those works that were demonstrably lost by Jewish collectors during the Nazi era.
The German government returned Zwei Reiter to David Friedmann's heirs on May 13, two days before another painting, Femme assise dans un feauteuil (seated woman in a chair) by Henri Matisse, was restored to the heirs of Paul Rosenberg.