US government votes in favour of art restitution law

In a rare moment of solidarity in US politics a historic art restitution bill was passed by Congress on Friday (9 December).

Proposed in April this year, the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (HEAR) facilitates the restitution process by which Nazi-looted art is returned to its rightful pre-war owners. The bill was backed by Republican senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn together with Democrat Senators Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal. Continue reading

Sixteen-year legal battle over Pissarro painting returns to court

In one of the longest-running art restitution disputes in the US, the descendants of Lilly Cassirer, who fled Nazi Germany with her husband in 1939, are fighting tooth and nail against Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum to reclaim Camille Pissarro’s ‘Rue Saint-Honoré dans l’après-midi. Effet de pluie’ (1897).

The Cassirer family claims that Lilly and her husband were forced to trade the £24 million French Impressionist work for their exit visas in order to escape persecution. The painting changed hands between numerous art dealers and collectors over the course of a decade before finally arriving in Spain in 1993. When the Cassirers finally found the painting in a museum catalogue in 1999 they requested its return. The Museum refused and the family filed suit, commencing legal proceedings which have ensued for the past 16 years. Continue reading