The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation jointly filed suit in New York federal court on 7 December seeking a ruling that they own two works by Pablo Picasso in their collections, Boy Leading a Horse (1906), at MoMA, and Le Moulin de la Galette (1900), at the Guggenheim.
According to the museums, the works have been claimed by Julius Schoeps of Germany, alleging that his great uncle, Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, sold them in Nazi Germany under duress, which the museums dispute. Von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy had already given the works to his second wife, Elsa, when he married her in 1927, the museums say. After Von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy died in a Berlin sanatorium of heart problems in 1935, “there is no evidence of any Nazi seizures” from his estate, they say. Elsa remained in Berlin until the Soviet army advanced and remarried Austrian Count Max von Kesselstatt. Though she vigorously sought to reclaim property lost in the war, she never included the two Picasso paintings in the assets she sought to recover, the museums say.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Museums file joint appeal'