April 23, 2024
FILE PHOTO: Guests stand by Camille Pissarro’s “Rue Saint-Honore within the Afternoon. Impact of Rain, 1897” at Thyssen-Bornemisza museum in Madrid, Spain, April 22, 2022. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photograph

A U.S. appeals court docket stated on Tuesday that Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum might hold a well-known French impressionist portray that the Nazis looted from a Jewish girl, rejecting an possession declare that her heirs have pursued for greater than 20 years.

The dispute over the portray stems from a lawsuit filed by now-deceased La Mesa resident Claude Cassirer.

Pissarro’s “Rue Saint Honore, apres midi, effet de pluie” (“Rue Saint Honore, Afternoon, Rain Impact”), which depicts a Paris avenue scene, was stolen in 1939 from Lilly Neubauer, who was pressured to promote it for 900 Reichsmarks ($360) to acquire a visa and flee Nazi Germany. She was by no means paid.

The three-0 resolution by the ninth U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals in Pasadena, California, got here in one of many oldest Nazi artwork theft instances, which started in 2005 and reached the U.S. Supreme Court docket two years in the past.

He alleged that he and his household ought to retain possession of the French Impressionist portray relatively than the Thyssen-Bornemisza Assortment Basis, an entity managed by the Kingdom of Spain.

The portray exchanged arms over the many years — together with an extended stint in St. Louis — and was finally bought to the muse, which positioned it in a Madrid museum.

After studying the place the portray was, Neubauer’s grandson, Claude Cassirer, petitioned for its return in 2001, and sued 4 years later.

He died in 2010, and his son David, his daughter Ava’s property and the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County now deal with the case.

In Tuesday’s resolution, Circuit Choose Carlos Bea stated Spain’s curiosity in offering “certainty of title” to its museums outweighed California’s curiosity in deterring theft and acquiring recoveries for victims of stolen artwork who reside there.

He stated that justified making use of Spanish legislation relatively than California legislation, entitling the Thyssen to the portray as a result of it had in good religion owned and displayed it for eight years earlier than its possession was questioned.

In a concurrence, Circuit Choose Consuelo Callahan stated Spain ought to have voluntarily relinquished the portray, reflecting its dedication to returning Nazi-looted artwork to victims, however the legislation compelled a special end result.

“I want that it had been in any other case,” she wrote.

The choice got here two years after the Supreme Court docket threw out an earlier ninth Circuit resolution as a result of it misapplied choice-of-law guidelines.

Legal professionals for the Cassirers in a joint assertion stated Tuesday’s resolution “fails to elucidate how Spain has any curiosity in making use of its legal guidelines to launder possession of the spoils of struggle.” They plan to hunt evaluate by an 11-judge ninth Circuit panel.

“The Cassirers consider that, particularly in gentle of the explosion of antisemitism on this nation and world wide at the moment, they have to problem Spain’s persevering with insistence on harboring Nazi looted artwork,” the legal professionals stated.

Thaddeus Stauber, a lawyer for the Thyssen, referred to as the choice “a welcome conclusion to this case.”

The case is Cassirer et al v Thyssen-Bornemisza Assortment Basis, ninth U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals, No. 19-55616.

Reuters contributed to this report.