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Über dieses Buch

This book offers a clear, accessible account of the American litigation over the restitution of works of art taken from Jewish families during the Holocaust. For the past two decades, the courts of the United States have been an arena of conflict over this issue that has recently captured widespread public attention. In a series of cases, survivors and heirs have come forward to claim artworks in public and private collections around the world, asserting that they were seized by the Nazis or were sold under duress by owners desperate to escape occupied countries. Spanning two continents and three-quarters of a century, the cases confront the courts with complex problems of domestic and international law, clashes among the laws of different jurisdictions, factual uncertainties about the movements of art during and after the war, and the persistent question whether restitution claims have been extinguished by the passage of time.Through individual case studies, the book examines the legal questions these conflicts have raised and the answers the courts have given. From the internationally celebrated “Woman in Gold” lawsuit against Austria to lesser-known claims against Germany, Hungary, Spain, and museums and private collections in the United States, the book synthesizes the legal and evidentiary materials and judicial rulings in each case, creating a coherent narrative of proceedings that are often labyrinthine in complexity. Written by a leading authority on litigation and procedure, the book will be of interest to readers in various fields of the humanities and social sciences as well as law, and to anyone interested in the fate of artworks that have been called the “last prisoners” of the Second World War.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This introductory chapter describes the Holocaust-era art restitution claims brought in the American courts, and provides an overview of the “labyrinthine” cluster of issues they raise in the domains of domestic, international, and foreign law.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 2. United States v. Portrait of Wally

Abstract
In United States v. Portrait of Wally, federal authorities seized a Schiele painting in New York and brought a forfeiture proceeding on behalf of the heirs of Jewish art dealer Lea Bondi, who claimed that the Nazis had stolen the work from her in Vienna in 1939. The resulting 12-year litigation raised an intricate series of legal and factual questions concerning ownership of the painting, which are examined in this chapter.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 3. Altmann v. Republic of Austria

Abstract
In Altmann v. Republic of Austria, the heirs of Ferdinand Bloch sued to recover six Klimt paintings that the Nazis had confiscated from him after he fled Vienna in 1938, most of which were later placed in Austrian museums. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which resulted in a decision by the United States Supreme Court concerning the retroactive application of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and was eventually concluded through arbitration.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 4. Westfield v. Federal Republic of Germany

Abstract
In Westfield v. Federal Republic of Germany, the family of Jewish art dealer Walter Westfeld sued in the American courts seeking compensation from the Republic of Germany for his lost art collection in Düsseldorf, which the Nazis confiscated and auctioned off before deporting him to Auschwitz. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which presented a series of problems of foreign state immunity.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 5. Orkin v. Taylor

Abstract
In Orkin v. Taylor, heirs of Jewish collector Margerete Mauthner claimed that the Nazis had taken a van Gogh painting from her before she fled Germany in 1939, and sued to recover it from film star Elizabeth Taylor, whose father had purchased it in London in 1963. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which raised a series of questions of state and federal law concerning the application of the statute of limitations.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 6. Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art

Abstract
In von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art, the heirs of Jacques Goudstikker sueds to recover a Cranach diptych taken from his Amsterdam gallery by Hermann Göring, which eventually made its way to the Norton Simon Museum in California. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which has confronted the courts with a series of problems in constitutional law, conflicts of law, and foreign property law.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 7. Cassirer v. Kingdom of Spain and Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation

Abstract
In Cassirer v. Kingdom of Spain and Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, heirs of Lilly Cassirer sued in the American courts to recover a Pissarro painting the Nazis seized from her by the Nazis in Munich in 1939, which was later sold in the United States and was eventually acquired by the Spanish government and placed in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which raises a host of problems of constitutional law, conflicts of law, and foreign property law.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 8. Grosz v. Museum of Modern Art

Abstract
In Grosz v. Museum of Modern Art, the family of artist George Grosz sued to recover paintings of his that, they asserted, were stolen by the Nazis from his dealer following the artist’s flight from Germany, and were later acquired by the Museum of Modern Art. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which presented the courts with a series of questions concerning the statute of limitations.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 9. Bakalar v. Vavra

Abstract
In Bakalar v. Vavra, heirs of Fritz Grünbaum claimed that after his 1938 arrest in Vienna the Nazis seized his art collection, including a work by Egon Schiele that passed through Switzerland before being purchased by a collector in New York. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which proceeded through several rounds at the trial and appellate levels and raised complex choice-of-law problems as well as tangled factual questions.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 10. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston v. Seger-Thomschitz

Abstract
In Museum of Fine Arts, Boston v. Seger-Thomschitz, the heir of Jewish collector Oskar Reichel sued to recover a Kokoschka painting that Reichel sold in Vienna in 1939, which changed hands several times and was eventually donated to Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which turned on a variety of state and federal legal questions relating to the application of the statute of limitations.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 11. Schoeps v. Museum of Modern Art

Abstract
In Schoeps v. Museum of Modern Art, heirs of Paul and Elsa von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy sued two New York museums to recover paintings that the couple had sold while being persecuted by the Nazis in Berlin in 1935. This chapter examines the, adjudication of the legal and factual issues of the case, which settled on just as trial was to begin.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 12. De Csepel v. Republic of Hungary

Abstract
In de Csepel v. Republic of Hungary, heirs of Erzsébet, András, and István Herzog sued to recover the family’s art collection, which was seized by the Nazis in Budapest 1944 and later placed in several museums and university collections in Hungary. This chapter examines the legal questions raised by the case, which include a series of issues of international law and foreign state immunity.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 13. Detroit Institute of Arts and Toledo Museum of Art v. Ullin

Abstract
In Detroit Institute of Arts v. Ullin and Toledo Museum of Art v. Ullin, heirs of Martha Nathan claimed that in 1938, shortly after fleeing Germany for France, she had sold paintings by Gauguin and van Gogh under duress to a group of dealers in Paris, which were later acquired by the Detroit and Toledo museums. This chapter examines the adjudication of these cases, which the courts decided in favor of the museums on the grounds that relevant statutes of limitations had expired.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 14. Vineberg v. Bissonnette

Abstract
In Vineberg v. Bissonnette, trustees of art dealer Max Stern’s estate sought to recover a painting the Nazis had forced Stern to sell along with the rest of the inventory of his Düsseldorf gallery in 1937. This chapter examines the adjudication of the case, which resulted in an order returning the painting to the estate, marking what to date is the only final judgment on the merits of a Nazi-era art restitution claim.
Bruce L. Hay

Chapter 15. Conclusion

Abstract
This concluding chapter describes the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act, enacted by Congress in late 2016 to provide a new, extended time limit for bringing restitution claims in the American courts.
Bruce L. Hay

Backmatter

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