Pisarro painting once seized by Nazis could sell for $1.8 million at auction after settlement between heirs


A painting by Camille Pissarro that was seized by the Nazis after its Jewish owners left Germany before World War II and was later purchased by another Jewish family in the United States will go up for auction next month after A settlement has been reached between the two families.


Christie’s expects “L’Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre”, a scene of a northern French seaport that Pisarro painted the year of his death, will sell for between 1.2 and 1, $8 million.

Christie’s did not disclose details of the deal or how auction proceeds will be split based on the New York Timeswho first announced the auction.

The settlement resolves a dispute between the heirs of Ludwig and Margret Kainer, who left the Pissaro painting and the rest of their art collection in Germany when they left for Switzerland in 1932, and the parents of Gerald D. Horowitz , who purchased the painting from a New York dealer in 1994.

Last year, Kainer’s heirs (composed of descendants of the couple’s cousins) sued members of the Horowitz family in federal court in hopes of recovering the painting, but an attorney on behalf of the Horowitz family declared to Time said Horowitz purchased the painting “in good faith” and asked if the painting had been stolen.

Surprising fact

Horowitz family attorney Stuart Eizenstat helped draft the Washington Principles, which guide how claims for the return of Nazi-looted artwork are handled around the world. Eizenstat agreed to help the family because he was a childhood friend of Horowitz’s wife and because the family has a good reputation in the Atlanta Jewish community, he told the Time. This is the first time he has worked on an individual restitution case.

Key Context

Nazi art dealers acquired around 20% of Europe’s transportable art between 1933 and 1945, according to the US government. Last week, Christie’s announced it would also sell a painting by Claude Monet which was seized by the Nazis after helping the heirs find a settlement. Last year, a Van Gogh watercolor that was sold under duress by a German-Jewish businessman in 1938 only to be seized by the Nazis two years later from the Paris art collection of banking heiress Alexandrine de Rothschild sold for $35.8 million at auction.

Further reading

Pissarro seized by Nazis to be auctioned off after families settle (New York Times)

A tricky first case for the man who wrote the rules on Nazi-looted art (New York Times)

Painting by Monet sold by Jewish owner after fleeing the Nazis to be auctioned after settlement with his heirs (Forbes)

Van Gogh’s watercolor seized by the Nazis sells for a record $35.8 million (Forbes)

How a Jewish family recovered their Nazi-looted art (Forbes)

About Bernice D. Brewer

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