A painting by Camille Pissarro that was seized by Nazis after its Jewish owners left Germany before World War II and was later purchased by another Jewish family in the U.S. will head to auction next month after a settlement was reached by both families.
Christie’s expects “The Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre,” a scene of a seaport in northern France that Pisarro painted the year he died, to sell for between $1.2 million and $1.8 million.
Christie’s did not disclose the details of the settlement or how the proceeds from the auction will be split according to the New York Times, which first reported the auction.
The settlement resolves a dispute between the heirs of Ludwig and Margret Kainer, who left the Pissaro painting and the rest of their art collection in Germany when they left in 1932 for Switzerland and relatives of Gerald D. Horowitz, who bought the painting from a New York dealer in 1994.
Last year, Kainer’s heirs (made up of descendants of the couple’s cousins) sued members of the Horowitz family in federal court in hopes of getting the painting back, but a lawyer on behalf of the Horowitz family told the Times said Horowitz purchased the painting “in completely good faith” and had asked if the painting was stolen.
The Horowitz family’s lawyer Stuart Eizenstat helped write the Washington Principles, which guides how restitution claims of art looted by Nazis are handled around the world. Eizenstat agreed to help the family because he was a childhood friend of Horowitz’s wife and because the family has a good reputation in the Jewish community in Atlanta, he told the Times. It marks the first time he has worked on an individual restitution case.
Nazi art dealers acquired an estimated 20% of Europe’s transportable art between 1933 and 1945, according to the U.S. government. Last week, Christie’s announced it would also sell a Claude Monet painting that was once seized by Nazis after helping heirs reach a settlement. Last year, a watercolor by Van Gogh that was sold under duress by a Jewish-German businessman in 1938 only to be seized by Nazis two years later from the Paris art collection of banking heiress Alexandrine de Rothschild sold for $35.8 million at auction.
Pissarro Seized by Nazis to Be Sold at Auction After Families Settle (New York Times)
Monet Painting Sold By Jewish Owner After Fleeing Nazis To Be Auctioned After Settlement With His Heirs (Forbes)
Van Gogh Watercolor Seized By Nazis Sells For Record $35.8 Million (Forbes)
How One Jewish Family Reclaimed Its Art Looted By The Nazis (Forbes)