Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, March 12, 2018

Mondrian’s Heirs Stake Claim to Four Paintings in a German Museum

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-03-12/b8308058-05cf-4e0a-88d4-7d458f20bc0c.pngFour works from Piet Mondrian’s “neo-plastic” period have been in the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum since about 1950. Questions about their origins, like when they arrived at the museum and how, have surfaced in light of inquires by Mondrian’s heirs. The heirs are claiming that the Dutch abstractionist lent the paintings to the museum nearly 90 years ago and was forced to leave them behind as he fled from the intensifying World War II. They hired Gunnar Schnabel, a restitution lawyer, and Monika Tatzkow, a provenance expert, to track the paintings to their origins. A spokesman for the city claims that Mondrian “regularly gave away paintings for which he no longer had any use.” The family disagrees and argues that the museum has intentionally ignored evidence the paintings were not their property for decades.

See Catherine Hickley, Mondrian’s Heirs Stake Claim to Four Paintings in a German Museum, The New York Times, March 4, 2018.


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