BOSTON (CN) – The Boston Museum of Fine Arts sued Dr. Claudia Seger-Thomschitz to quiet title to an Oskar Kokoschka painting, “Two Nudes (Lovers),” claiming the museum did not obtain the art as a result of Nazi persecution, as Seger-Thomschitz claims.
The museum claims Dr. Oskar Reichel, a Jewish doctor and art collector in Vienna, voluntarily sold the painting to art dealer Otto Kallir in 1939. Kallir, formerly of Vienna, had moved to Paris when he bought the painting, the complaint states. “The painting was never confiscated by the Nazis, was never sold by force as a result of Nazi persecution, and was not otherwise taken from Dr. Reichel,” the museum insists.
Kallir moved from Paris to New York, opened another gallery and sold the painting to a third dealer, who sold it to Sarah Blodgett in 1947 or 1948, the museum says. She bequeathed it to the museum on her death.
Reichel died “of natural causes” in Vienna in 1943. The museum claims that “more than 68 years after the sale of the painting by Dr. Reichel, Defendant – as the purported heir of Dr. Reichel’s sons – demanded that the museum turn over the painting to her.”
The museum says it investigated her claim and rejects it. See the federal complaint.