A Pissarro to return to rightful heirs?
The Supreme Court of the United States considers a request for the return of a painting by Pissarro looted by the Nazis, preserved in Madrid The conflict between the Spanish government and a Jewish family robbed over a painting by Pissarro has reached the American Supreme Court. Decision in a few months. The Supreme Court of the United States examined Tuesday, January 18 the request for restitution of a painting by Camille Pissarro looted by the Nazis in 1939 and currently exhibited in Spain. The decision will be made in a few months. The painting Rue Saint-Honoré, in the afternoon. Rain Effect , painted in 1897, was, like other works by the Impressionist, at the heart of a long legal battle with international ramifications. This painting, which shows horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians busying themselves at a Parisian crossroads, belonged in 1937 to a German Jew, Lilly Cassirer Neubauer, who had been forced to give it up to a Nazi official in exchange for documents allowing her to leave the city. She had then lost track of the painting, sold at auction in Berlin during the Second World War. The work located in 2000 In 1958, she had accepted financial compensation, awarded by a German court, without giving up her rights. It was not until 2000 that one of the descendants located the work: Claude Cassirer learned that the painting, which he had seen as a child in his grandmother's living room, was exhibited in Madrid, at the Thyssen- Bornemisza. The Spanish government bought it seven years earlier from Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen Bornemisza, heir to the industrial empire of the Thyssen family and great art collector, who had bought it himself in the United States in the 1970s without knowing its history. Claude Cassirer, therefore, asks the Spanish government to return the work, but is refused. Based in California, he filed a complaint in 2005 before a US federal court. He has since died, and his children have taken over. The file then stretches on the two continents, with decisions of the Spanish justice and the American justice unfavorable to the heirs. Spanish law or Californian law? The January 18 hearing at the Supreme Court is their last hope. The debates focused on a legal question: is it Spanish law or Californian law that applies in this case? According to the first, an owner is not obliged to return looted property if he was unaware of its origin at the time of purchase. The second does not take into account the good faith of the owner. The judges, who during the hearing focused on very technical points that did not even mention the work in question, will render their decision in a few months. Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis stole, looted, seized or destroyed 600,000 works of art in Europe, according to a US Congress report. Despite restitution efforts, conflicts are frequent between old and new owners, and the courts on both sides of the Atlantic are regularly called upon to intervene. Besides the painting Rue Saint-Honoré , other paintings by Pissaro have been the subject of intense legal battles. La Cueillette des Pois, which an American collector couple and a French Jewish family oppose, or La Bergere bringing in her sheep, an heiress having finally renounced her rights in favor of the University of Oklahoma.
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The Supreme Court of the United States considers a request for the return of a painting by Pissarro looted by the Nazis, preserved in...