Woman loses appeal in Nazi-era art case

Painting auctioned by Nazis should remain with the estate of a late Jewish art dealer who lost it when his gallery was liquidated, a US federal appeals court ruled.

nazi art 88 224 (photo credit: Herkomst Gezocht database)
nazi art 88 224
(photo credit: Herkomst Gezocht database)
A painting forcibly auctioned by Germany's Nazi government should remain with the estate of a late Jewish art dealer who lost it when his gallery was liquidated, a US federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. The ruling by the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston blocks an attempt by German baroness Maria-Luise Bissonnette to recoup the painting Girl from the Sabine Mountains, which has been valued by appraisers between $67,000 and $94,000. The painting is believed to be a work of Franz Xaver Winterhalter, a 19th-century artist famous for painting Queen Victoria, the czar of Russia and other European nobles. Last year, a federal judge ordered Bissonnette to give the painting to the estate of Max Stern, who lost about 400 paintings and his family's Dusselldorf art gallery when the Nazis forced its closure in 1937. Bissonnette then sought to overturn the lower court's ruling and win the painting back. In Wednesday's three-judge ruling, Judge Bruce Selya said the court was righting a wrong committed during one of history's bleakest periods, the Holocaust. "The mills of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine," Selya said.