Thursday, March 26, 2009

When countries go bad...

Yale University has gone to court in a preemptive attempt to protect its claim to an 1888 Van Gogh painting in its collection, Business Week reports.

“The Night CafĂ©,” which entered the university collection in 1961 through a bequest from alumnus Stephen Carlton Clark, once belonged to the great Russian collector Ivan Morozov. Russia nationalized his holdings during the revolution and later sold the work.

According to Yale’s suit, Pierre Konowaloff, a Paris-based man purporting to be Morozov’s grandson, last year asserted through a lawyer that he owned the painting and sent a draft complaint of a federal suit. Konowaloff argues that the Soviet nationalization of property was illegal and that the painting is the rightful property of his great-grandfather and his estate.
Read the report here.

Earlier when I discussed that fact that all the nationalized stolen Cuban artwork which has subsequently been sold by the Cuban dictatorship (mostly to French museums) would one day be subject to claims by the rightful owners, I completely forgot about Russia's earlier nationalizing theft of privately owned artwork which was then subsequently sold by the evil empire.

And in this wide open arena where governments left and right are suing institutions for the return of their national patrimonies, the writing is on the wall.

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