Heirs Sue Over Ownership of a Pissarro, Saying It Was Seized by Nazis

May 13, 2021, by Colin Moynihan – Excerpt

Camille Pissarro, L’Anse des Pilotes, après-midi, temps ensoleillé, Le Havre, 1903.

“More than a dozen heirs of a Jewish couple who left Germany as Hitler rose to power have filed a lawsuit in Georgia seeking to recover a Pissarro painting said to have been part of an extensive collection of works seized by Nazis.”

“The painting, “The Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre,” an oil on canvas work depicting a harbor scene, was among works belonging to Margaret and Ludwig Kainer taken by Nazis after they left Germany…”

“Many Jewish families lost valuable artworks before and during World War II. But the case of the Kainer heirs illustrates the difficulties of figuring out what has become of looted artworks and who, exactly, may have a right to recover them, especially when there are competing claims.”

“The Kainer heirs — the granddaughter of Ludwig Kainer, his great-grandchildren and descendants of Margaret Kainer’s first cousins — have faced an added unusual circumstance as they sought to recover works. For decades, a Swiss foundation has presented itself as the Kainers’ “heir,” collecting proceeds from the sales of some artworks that had belonged to the Kainers as well as war reparations from the German government.”

“It is not clear whether the existence of the Swiss foundation could further complicate the dispute over the Pissarro. A lawyer who has represented the foundation in the New York litigation did not reply to an email message asking whether the foundation plans to make any claims of ownership of the Pissarro painting.”

“According to the lawsuit filed this week in Atlanta, Margaret and Ludwig Kainer left for Switzerland in 1932 to obtain medical care, but never returned to their home in Germany. Alarmed by the persecution of Jews there, they instead moved to France. Meanwhile, the lawsuit said, Nazis sold the stolen Pissarro at auction in 1935.”

“A Pissarro catalogue raisonné from 2005 listed the work as having been plundered from L. Kainer during World War II, the lawsuit said.”

“Then, in late 2014 and early 2015, the work was displayed for almost three months at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. That alerted researchers with the Mondex Corporation, an art recovery company representing the Kainer heirs, that the painting still existed.”

This is an excerpt from this New York Times article. Full article through this link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/13/arts/design/pissarro-painting-lawsuit-nazis.html?searchResultPosition=12.