Court: Van Gogh stays with Tay­lor

Los Angeles Times - - Calendar -

Ac­tress El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor can keep a Van Gogh paint­ing that might have been il­le­gally seized by the Nazis be­cause the fam­ily that once owned it waited too long to ask for it back, a U.S. ap­peals court ruled Fri­day.

Tay­lor, 75, bought the 1889 paint­ing “View of the Asy­lum and Chapel at Saint-Remy” at a Sotheby’s auc­tion in Lon­don in 1963 for 92,000 Bri­tish pounds — about $257,000 at the time. She keeps it in her Los An­ge­les-area home.

The paint­ing, made by Van Gogh the year he died, is worth many times more in to­day’s red­hot art mar­ket.

The Orkin fam­ily, South African and Cana­dian de­scen­dants of Mar­garete Mau­th­ner, a Jewish wo­man who fled Ger­many in 1939, sued Tay­lor in 2004, claim­ing that the work had been con­fis­cated by the Nazis and should be re­turned to them un­der the 1998 U.S. Holo­caust Vic­tims Re­dress Act.

Tay­lor said she was the right­ful owner of the paint­ing and as­serted it had passed through two Jewish art deal­ers with­out any sign of Nazi co­er­cion be­fore she bought it.

In its de­ci­sion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in San Fran­cisco backed a lower court and ruled the Orkin fam­ily waited too long in mak­ing their claim.

Ethan Miller Getty Images

DIS­PUTE: El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor bought the 1889 paint­ing in 1963 for about $257,000.

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