Court to Rehear Case of Pissarro Painting Stolen by Nazis

Artinfo 31 December 2009
By Natasha Gural

SAN FRANCISCO—A larger panel of judges will rehear the case of a California man seeking to recover a Camille Pissarro painting stolen from his grandmother by the Nazis, an appeals court has ruled.

The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco set aside on Wednesday a September ruling by three of its judges who said that Spain, which acquired the painting in 1993, can be sued even though the work was stolen by Germany. The case will be reheard by a larger panel of judges, the court said, without giving a reason for the decision.

“The three-judge panel opinion shall not be cited as precedent by or to any court of the Ninth Circuit,” said the ruling issued Wednesday.

Claude Cassirer sued Spain and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation in 2005 to recover the French impressionist painting of Rue Saint-Honore in Paris. Cassirer’s great-grandfather bought the painting in 1898, and his grandmother was forced to surrender it when she fled Germany in 1939, according to court filings.

After the war, the painting was sold at least three times before ending up with the collection of Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, which is housed in Madrid.
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