Thursday, December 11, 2008
How did I miss this? Last month Judge Selya wrote an opinion affirming a summary judgement award of a painting that Max Stern, an art dealer, was forced by the Nazis to sell at below fair market value in 1937. The opinion is here. (Thanks to a link from the Illicit Cultural Property blog.) There's a lot of stuff in there, though the opinion focuses on a laches argument that the possessor of the property made against the Stern estate's replevin claim. (I know, I know--laches is an equitable defense and replivin is a legal action. I had the same reaction. But the district court allowed the argument and so did the first circuit.)
The possessor of painting ("Girl from the Sabine Mountains") is German baroness Maria-Luise Bissonnette. She inherited it from her mother in 1991. Bissonnette's step-father purchased the painting in 1937.