US judge rules against family over Nazi-seized masterpiece

LOS ANGELES – A federal judge in California has dealt a blow to a Jewish family’s prolonged battle to regain ownership of a masterpiece painting seized from a woman fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 and now on display in a museum in Spain.

Judge John Walter found that under Spanish law, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid is the rightful owner of “Rue Saint-Honore, Apres-midi, Effet de Pluie,” an 1897 masterpiece by Camille Pissarro depicting a Parisian street scene. In last week’s ruling, Walter dismissed a 2005 lawsuit filed by the woman’s heirs against the museum, but urged the institution to consider what would be fair to victims of Nazi persecution. On Thursday, the family’s attorney promised to appeal Walter’s ruling to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, saying the museum’s position is “morally and legally wrong.” “Museums and governments around the world recognize the need to return Nazi-looted art to its rightful owners,” attorney Laura Brill said. “The museum is not doing the right thing here.”



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