David de Csepel, an heir of the famous Hungarian banker Baron Mor Lipot Herzog, is suing the country for not returning what he says is family art that was taken during the Holocaust, says the New York Times.
The lawsuit says that before his death in 1934, Baron Mór Lipót Herzog amassed approximately 2,500 paintings, sculptures, and other artworks in what they say was one of Europe’s finest collections of art. They estimate all of the works’ value at $100 million.
Some of the notable works:
- The Agony in the Garden, an oil-on-canvas masterwork that was one of six El Greco paintings in the former Herzog Collection;
- The Portrait of Don Balthasar Carlos, by Alonso Cano, the Spanish painter and sculptor known as “the Michelangelo of Spain”;
- The Spring, by Gustave Courbet, the innovative French painter who lead the Realist movement in 19th-Century France; and
- Portrait of a Woman (Lady with a Marguerite (Daisy)), by Camille Corot, the 19th-Century French landscape painter of whom the impressionist master Claude Monet said, “We are nothing compared to him, nothing.”
The family’s art is now housed in Hungarian museums, which are also named in the lawsuit. The art was moved there either for safe-keeping during WWII or moved there after being returned from looters.
The family’s main frustration is the Hungarian government’s refusal to acknowledge their claims. From the New York Times:
“Fifteen years ago the family offered to split the paintings with the government, and they turned them down,” Mr. Goldstein said. “Germany and Austria have come to terms with this issue, but Hungary has not. They have refused to take responsibility.”
Now see some of the art stolen from the Modern Art Museum in Paris recently >
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