A Pissarro painting that was at the center of a dispute between the heirs of a Jewish couple whose art collection was seized by the Nazis before World War II and a Jewish family who bought it in 1994 will be sold auction next month after the two sides reached an agreement.
Details of the settlement have not been disclosed, but Christie’s has estimated between $1.2 and 1.8 million the work “L’Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre”, which it plans to sell on May 14 in New York.
Ludwig and Margret Kainer left behind an art collection, including the Pissarro, when they left Germany in 1932 when Hitler came to power. Their relatives have been asking for the painting since 2015, and for follow-up Gerald D. Horowitz’s family to get it back last year.
Family attorneys said Horowitz purchased the painting from a New York dealer after investigating whether it had been stolen.
Among the reasons the dispute sparked interest was the fact that it was the first time that Stuart E. Eizenstat, a diplomat and lawyer who helped write the landmark Washington Principles which are used around the world to guide restitution claims, had become embroiled in an individual restitution case.
In announcing the settlement, the parties released a statement that read, in part, “This resolution is fully consistent with the Washington Principles’ ‘Just and Equitable Solution’ on Nazi Confiscated Art,” acknowledging that this may vary. depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding a specific case.
In an interview, Mr. Eizenstat said he agreed to work on behalf of the Horowitz family because of the family’s strong reputation in the Atlanta Jewish community and because he is a childhood friend of Mr. Horowitz’s wife, Pearlann Horowitz, whom he knew. since high school.
“We were satisfied – as the settlement document shows – that they had purchased this painting in good faith,” he said, adding that the resolution was a “vindication” of the principles he had helped to establish. negotiate.
The oil on canvas, which depicts a port scene, was painted by Pissarro in 1903 and was one of his last works before his death that year.
After leaving Germany, the Kainers were unable to return home safely after the Nazis took over, and in their absence, their world-class art collection and other furnishings were seized. by the Berlin tax office and auctioned off in Berlin to pay a Reich. the flight tax, a financial instrument often used to punish Jews who fled the country.
In 2014, the Horowitz family loaned the work to exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. It was during this time that he was identified by Mondex, a company that pursues restitution claims and represented the Kainer heirs.
The Kainers, who eventually settled in France, died in the 1960s childless, and the heirs claiming the painting are the children and grandchildren of cousins.
Christie’s said the settlement resolves the dispute over ownership of the painting and title to the work will pass to the winning bidder.
Several other paintings from the Kainers’ collection which were sold alongside the Pissarro in Berlin in 1935 have already been processed as plundered property. For example, Christie’s also sold Dancers, by Edgar Degas, once owned by the Kainers, for nearly $11 million in 2009 under a restitution agreement.