NEW YORK (CN) – A New York appeals court dismissed an action to recover allegedly stolen artwork brought by the great-nephew of Alphonse Kann, a Jewish art collector whose home outside Paris was looted by Nazis in 1940.
Francis Warin and an organization dedicated to recovering Kann’s art claimed that Wildenstein & Co. had eight illuminated manuscripts that were allegedly stolen from Kann during World War II.
When the manuscripts were recovered, neither plaintiffs nor their predecessors claimed them by 1947. As a result, Georges Wildenstein was able to buy them in 1952.
The appellate division found that plaintiffs’ claim is barred by a three-year statute of limitations that began to run in 1954. The court also rejected the argument that defendants held the property in bad faith, as Wildenstein received the manuscripts after a full investigation, and there was no evidence that defendants actively hid them. See ruling.