January 30, 2023

Guggenheim Museum faces lawsuit over Picasso painting

3 min read

written by Toyin Owoseje, CNN

one of By Pablo Picasso The Blue Period paintings are at the center of a lawsuit between a Jewish family and New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

The heirs of Karl Adler and Rosie Jacoby want the repatriation of the artist’s 1904 masterpiece “Woman Ironing (La Rapaceuse),” which they claim the couple painted in 1938 after being persecuted by the Nazis in their native Germany. He was forcibly sold while trying to escape.

Adler acquired the artwork from Munich gallery owner Heinrich Thanhäuser in 1916 but sold it to Thanhäuser’s son Justin in 1938 for about $1,552, the lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court said. The lawsuit claims that a frustrated Adler suffered a lot because of his family’s circumstances.

“Adler would not have disposed of this painting at the time and cost that he did, but for the Nazi persecution that he and his family suffered, and continue to suffer,” the complaint reads. Will.”

In the lawsuit, the family says Adler was chairman of the board of directors of a leading European leather company but things changed when “the Nazi regime in Germany destroyed their lives.”

In 1938, the family fled Germany and settled permanently in Argentina via Holland, France and Switzerland, the lawsuit said.

The Guggenheim Museum said it believed it was the suit. "without merit."

The Guggenheim Museum said it believed the suit was “without merit.” Credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

“While in exile in Europe, Adlers needed large amounts of cash just to get short-term visas. On the run, unable to work, and not knowing what the future held for them, Adlers who “Something they could do, it had to be done immediately. Collect as much cash as possible,” the lawsuit states.

The heirs alleged that Thanhäuser was “profiting” from the misfortunes of German Jews. They also allege that “Thinhauser was well aware of the plight of Adler and his family, and that without Nazi persecution, Adler would never have sold the painting for such a price,” according to the suit. .

Rosie Adler died in Buenos Aires in 1946 at the age of 68, while her husband Carl died in 1957 at the age of 85 during a visit to his homeland.

“Woman Ironing” remained in Thanhäuser’s art collection until her death in 1976. It was gifted to the Guggenheim in 1978, along with the rest of his artwork.

Adler’s descendants, along with several nonprofits and Jewish organizations named as plaintiffs in the class action, say in the complaint that the painting is “in the wrongful possession” of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

The family is seeking the return of the painting or compensation of between $100 million and $200 million based on its current market value, according to the suit.

The Guggenheim Museum told CNN in a statement that it “takes production issues and compensation claims extremely seriously” but believes the lawsuit is “without merit.”

“The sale of the painting by Carl Adler to Justin Thanhäuser was a fair transaction between parties with a long-standing and continuing relationship,” the museum said.

It added: “Extensive research conducted by the Guggenheim since first being contacted by counsel representing these claimants has shown that the Guggenheim is the rightful owner of the painting.”

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