A FRENCH woman is locked in a legal battle with an American museum to claim ownership of a million euro painting she claims was looted from her family by the Nazis.
French woman Stephanie Meyer, 81, has been threatened with a 3.5 million euro lawsuit by Oklahoma University’s Museum of Art is she does not desist from attempting to claim ownership of a valuable impressionist painting she claims was stolen from her family by the Nazis.
Le Bergere Rentrant des Moutons (Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep), by impressionist master painter Camille Pisarro, has been valued at over 1 million euro and is currently displayed by the Musee D’Orsay in Paris – on loan from the University of Oklahoma who were gifted the masterpiece by a local family.
Meyer’s father acquired the painting in the 1930s among other impressionist works, which he stashed in a bank vault that was later discovered by the Nazis during the German occupation of France. A 1945 French law states that stolen artworks must be returned to Nazi victims and their families, which Meyer is using to reclaim the painting from the American gallery.
The French woman, who is one of France’s wealthiest individuals, says she wants the painting to be permanently displayed in Paris and told the Oklahoma gallery that her battle is one of emotion – not greed. She lost her entire family, who were Jewish, to Nazi death camps during the Second World War and has been striving to retrieve their stolen collections for decades.
The American gallery claim that they are the rightful owners and have vowed to continue the legal battle to retain ownership of the Pisarro painting.
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