Family’s Claim Against MoMA Hinges on Dates

23 Aug 2011 10:00 PM | Anonymous

Family’s Claim Against MoMA Hinges on Dates
Published: August 23, 2011
When the Expressionist artist George Grosz, a celebrated painter, fled Nazi Germany in 1933, he left behind two important oil paintings and a watercolor with his Berlin dealer. Next month the United States Supreme Court, in deciding whether to hear the case, will determine whether Grosz’s heirs have any hope that legal action will help them recover the works from their current owner, the Museum of Modern Art.

The lawsuit is an emotional, last-ditch effort by Grosz’s son Martin, and Martin’s sister-in-law, Lilian, to reclaim works they say were lost in the midst of Nazi persecution, only to end up two decades later in one of the world’s most elite art institutions.

Beyond the family, the case has drawn the attention of Jewish groups and experts in international law who argue that the Grosz case, like many others concerning art looted or lost during World War II, have too often been decided not on the merits but on whether claimants filed suit before the legal time limit.

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