Two heirs of the Fritz Grunbaum's estate contested that the work was theirs because it had been seized by the Nazis. Grunbaum was a Jewish cabaret performer in Vienna who was arrested and died in a concentration camp in 1941. The painting was bought by Bakalar in 1963.
Pauley, in his ruling, declared that the defendants "have not produced any concrete evidence that the Nazis looted" the drawing. Bakalar, who declined to comment through his attorney, sued to be recognized as the rightful owner in 2005 when
James A. Janowitz, Bakalar's attorney, said Bakalar may now sell the work. "He was in the process of doing it last time around and I don't know if that's changed," said Janowitz.
When asked if he would appeal the case, Raymond J. Dowd, who represents the Grunbaum heirs, said "we're studying our options."
Geoff Edgers can be reached at email@example.com.