Picasso Settlement to Remain Confidential

In a precedent setting decision by a New York district court (S.D.N.Y), the terms of a settlement agreement between two New York City art museums and the possible heirs to two paintings by Pablo Picasso will remain confidential, reports the New York Law Journal.

In 2007 the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum filed suit against Julius Schoeps to quiet title to two paintings by Pablo Picasso that were once owned by a relative of Mr. Schoeps.  The paintings at issue are Boy Leading a Horse and Le Moulin de la Galette.  Mr. Schoeps had claimed that he was the rightful owner of the artworks as heir to the estate of his great uncle, who was apparently forced to relinquish the paintings under duress instituted by the Nazi regime. The museums disputed this position.

The case was to go to trial in February, but the settlement agreement was made shortly before.  At that time, Reuters reported that an attorney for the museums told the court that “There will be complete peace between the museums and the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and other heirs,” the settlement’s “dollar amount” would remain confidential, and that “[t]he paintings will remain in the museums.” U.S. District Judge Rakoff urged that the terms of the settlement be made public, citing the “weight of history” and inferred a public interest in access to the truth of the matter.  The Judge then gave the parties 30 days to address the issue and explain the necessity for confidentiality.

Had it progressed to trial, the case may have presented interesting points on New York’s 3-year demand and refusal rule, replevin and the factual issues of a laches defense.

New York Law Journal (subscription required) 

N.Y. Museums Settle in Claim of Nazi-Looted Picassos (Reuters )

Art Claims in the United States: 10 Years Aftr the Washington Conference


Images:  Above right, Boy Leading a Horse, 1905-1906, Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Above left, Le Moulin de la Galette, circa 1900, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.


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One Response to “Picasso Settlement to Remain Confidential”

  1. joel levi Says:

    Congratulations Mr. Schoeps
    Hope to meet you soon in Israel or in Berlin

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