Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Art Litigation - Grosz v MoMA Amicus Curiae Brief on Nazi Spoliation

Jacob Hilsdorf 1910 photograph of Alfred Flechtheim

When artist George Grosz fled Nazi Germany in January 1933, he left his artworks in the care of Jewish art dealer Alfred Flechtheim.   Flechtheim was the premier contemporary art dealer of the Weimar Republic.  You haven't heard his name before and no one in the United States has even cared enough to make a Wikipedia page for him in English, even though our museums are full of works that passed through his hands.   My earlier posts on him here .   Big article in Welt Online today on Flechtheim here.  Use Google Translate to read it if you don't read German, it predicts that the Flechtheim restitution litigation will be the biggest ever filed in Germany.

My firm represents the heirs of George Grosz in trying to obtain restitution of artworks Grosz left with Flechtheim's gallery in 1933.  Our complaint was dismissed pursuant to Rule 12 b 6 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as time-barred based on a settlement communication sent by MoMA Director Glenn Lowry to a representative of the Grosz Heirs, which the MoMA claimed, and the district judge accepted, to be a "refusal" for statute of limitations purposes under New York's demand and refusal rule.

I understand that MoMA made an informal presentation of its position to the NY City Bar Association's Art Law Committee, I am hopeful that we will receive equal time.

The Grosz Heirs appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the appeal is now pending.  An amicus brief was filed in support of our position, a list of the Amici and a copy of the brief below:

American Jewish Congress, Commission for Art Recovery; Filippa Marullo Anzalone, Yehuda Bauer, Michael J. Bazyler, Bernard Dov Beliak, Michael Berenbaum, Donald S. Burris, Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman, Talbert D’Alemberte, Marion F. Desmukh, Hedy Epstein, Hector Feliciano, Irving Greenberg, Grace Cohen Grossman, Marcia Sachs Littell, Hubert G. Locke, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Arthur R. Miller, Carol Rittner, John K. Roth, Lucille A. Roussin, William L. Shulman, Stephen D. Smith and Fritz Weinschenk, In Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants and Reversal

Grosz v MoMA Amicus Brief - Nazi Art Looting

 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook from West here  

No comments: