State rep calls for allowance of physical inspection of Nazi-stolen painting

The Oklahoma Daily 5 August 2015
By Andrew Clark

Oklahoma state representative Paul Wesselhöft, R-Moore, called for the University of Oklahoma to allow an inspection of the back of a painting in the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art to check for a Nazi stamp, according to a release Wednesday.

The painting in question, "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep" or "La Bergére," was stolen from the family of Leone Meyer by Nazis in 1941. Meyer has sued the university to return the painting to her.


Léone Meyer is suing OU for the painting “Bergère rentrant des moutons (Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep)” by French impressionist Camille Pissarro. Before World War II, Meyer’s family owned the painting. During the war it was stolen by Nazis. Now the painting hangs in the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, where it was donated by its last owners Aaron and Clara Weitzenhoffer. OU won’t give the painting back to Meyer until the matter’s been decided in court.


Wesselhöft has a declassified photo of the back of the painting showing the stamp, according to the release.

“There are two equally intriguing possibilities here,” Wesselhöft said in the release. “Either the Nazi ERR stamp is on the back of the painting or it is not. In either case, there appears to be skullduggery involved."

Wesselhöft said that if the stamp is not on the back of the painting, then some party has covered up a federal crime. He said it could either be The Findlay Gallery in New York City, the Weitzenhoffer family or the university.

Aaron and Clara Weitzenhoffer, the parents of University of Oklahoma regent Max Weitzenhoffer, purchased the painting from David Findlay Galleries Inc. in New York City in February 1956. Clara Weitzenhoffer's estate donated the painting to OU's Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in 2000. 

"If the Nazi ERR stamp is, in fact, on the back of the painting, then those two museums (David Findlay Galleries Inc. and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art) and President Boren must have or should have known that this painting was, indeed, stolen by the Nazis," Wesselhöft said in the release.
© website copyright Central Registry 2022