Williams, et al. v. The National Gallery, London, et al.

Woman who owns and is depicted in 1908 Matisse painting flees Ally-occupied Berlin in 1947, fearing Soviet invasion and leaves the painting for safekeeping with an acquaintance who instead sells it and pockets the money. It changes hands several times until the National Gallery in London buys it in 1979. Woman’s heirs: It was stolen; give it back. National Gallery: No. British agency that decides Holocaust era art claims: We can’t help; we don’t do thefts after 1945. Second Circuit: We can’t help; the gallery can’t be sued in U.S. courts as it is an instrumentality of Great Britain, and it wasn’t the one who stole the painting.

Tags: 2018, Art, International, Second Circuit

Sign up to receive IJ's biweekly digital magazine, Liberty & Law along with breaking updates about our fight to protect the rights of all Americans.