«Adam and Eva» Banished from a Museum

Marei von Saher, the daughter-in-law of noted art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, has filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.

Von Saher and the museum had been in talks over the paintings for some years but the two parties failed to reach a settlement.

At stake are two life-size paintings of Adam and Eve by 15th century artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, which were among the most important works in Goudstikkers collection of more than 1,300 artworks.

The paintings, most of them Old Masters today worth hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece, were looted in 1940 when Nazi troops invaded the Netherlands. While some of the collection has been returned, many paintings remain missing.

Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering was among the officers who looted Goudstikker’s gallery, taking some works back to Germany.

The two paintings in the current dispute were acquired by the Norton Simon Museum in or about 1971, who have challenged the museum’s contention that it has fair title to the paintings.

Last year the Dutch government returned around 200 paintings that had been looted from the Goudstikker collection to Von Saher. Around 30 of them were sold at auction in New York in April, fetching almost 10 million dollars.

Goudstikker was forced to abandon his collection when he fled the Netherlands in 1940. However, a notebook in which he recorded details of over 1,000 of his works has proved invaluable in the search for the lost paintings.

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Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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