NEW YORK (Reuters) – A masterpiece can be painted by Pablo Picasso that a Jewish German businessman was forced to sell him to pay for the Nazis staying in the City Museum of Art in New York rather than returning it to the heirs of the business ; court adjudicated federal appeal Wednesday. t
PHOTO FILE: PHOTO FILE: Visitors walk along the steps of the City Art Museum in New York, 6 March, 2006. REUTERS / Keith Bedford / File Photo
The US 2nd Circuit Appeals Court in Manhattan said that the great father Paul Leffmann, who had previously known as “The Actor, Picasso”, waited too long by not returning the painting to 2010, which was 72 years old. after it was sold and 58 years after it was presented to the Met.
Chief Justice Robert Katzmann recognized that it was a panel of three judges, that the Federal Art Recovery Act 2016 and other recent measures recognized the need to provide a “measure of justice, though not complete,”. victims of Nazi brutality and their heirs.
But he said it would be unfair for the Metas to surrender the Picasso to Leffmann's great father, Laurel Zuckerman, because of the “irrational” delay in claiming his returns.
“This is not a case that the seller did not know the identity of the buyer or when it was difficult to find the lost property,” wrote Katzmann. “The Met has been devastated for over twenty years since the end of the Second World War.”
There was no immediate comment by Zuckerman's lawyer. A lower court judge also contacted the Met in February 2018.
According to the complaint, Leffmann sold “The Actor” to a Paris art dealer for $ 12,000 to fund his and his wife's escape to Italy from Italy, led by Benito Mussolini, ally de Adolf Hitler.
Zuckerman said that the Met had not properly recognized Leffmann's ownership until 2011, after many years of incorrect cataloging.
A Met spokesman said that the museum considers that “all claims from the Nazi era are good and responsible,” and that it has returned illegally appropriated works.
The Picasso was not such work, she said, adding “and our responsibility and joy is to share it with the widest possible audience.” T
Federal law 2016 calls for six-year-olds to file claims after they have lost artwork between 1933 and 1945 due to Nazi persecution.
Painted in Picasso's “Rose Period” in 1904 and 1905, “The Actor” also made news in January 2010 when an art student lost her balance and fell into it. The resulting six inch (15 cm) tear was repaired.
The case is Zuckerman v. City Art Museum, 2nd US Circuit Court, No. 18-634.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, editing by G Crosse
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