French Jewish heiress gives up right to priceless impressionist painting stolen by Nazis

After 10-yr dispute with the U of Oklahoma, 81-year old French department store heiress decides to give up her battle for Pissarro painting.

Dan Verbin ,

Art museum visitors (illustration)
Art museum visitors (illustration)
Flash 90

A French Jewish heiress gave up her year’s long battle to win back a priceless impressionist painting by Camille Pissarro that was confiscated from her family by the Nazis.

She renounced her intentions to have the painting restituted from the University of Oklahoma, in whose gallery it has resided, in order to end a battle with the school, reported AFP.

Leone Meyer, 81, who was a pediatrician for 45 years and whose adoptive family founded the Galeries Lafayette, a high end French department store chain, spent 10 years attempting to re-secure ownership of Pissarro’s 1886 “La Bergere rentrant des moutons” (Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep).

During the German occupation of Paris, the painting was stolen from her parents by the Nazis.

In the post-war years, the painting resided in Switzerland before it was purchased by a private collector in the US. The painting was willed to the University of Oklahoma where it has been since 2000.

In 2016, Meyer won a legal case and was officially declared the owner of the painting. However, the terms of the deal she had made with the University of Oklahoma, she was unable to have the painting transported back to France where she could bequeath it to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, a well known museum of impressionist artworks.

Meyer had long sought to have a clause erased from the settlement where the painting would be shared every three years between the University of Oklahoma and the Musée d’Orsay, which eventually turned down the request due to the cost.

Meyer decided to give up her rights to the painting when she realized the likelihood of leaving it to the French museum was dimming.

“(I have) no other choice but to take heed of the inescapable conclusion that it will be impossible to persuade the different parties to whose attention I have brought this matter,” she told French media.



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