University of Oklahoma Returns 130-Year-Old Impressionist Painting Stolen by the Nazis
Feb 24, 2016 05:56 AM EST
An impressionist painting made by Camille Pissarro in 1886 will now be in the hands of the rightful owner. The University of Oklahoma has settled a long-standing drawn-out dispute over the artwork's ownership with the Meyers. The painting was looted by the Nazis during World War II from a French family.
The settlement claims that the title of the impressionist painting entitled, "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep" will be transferred to Leone Meyer, a French Holocaust survivor, according to The New York Times. Meyer's father owned the stolen painting during the time. As part of the settlement, the artwork would be seen on display at the university's Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman at the University of Oklahoma and a museum in France for a period of five years. The university also agreed that the painting was looted under the settlement.
"This is a wonderful victory, but it is unfortunate that it took so long," said State Representative Paul Wesselhoft, who supported the return of the impressionist painting to the Meyers. "They (the university) should have known and must have known that it was the moral thing to do to give back something that has been stolen."
When World War II struck, Paris was attacked by the Germans. The Nazis then looted galleries, museums and other personal memorabilia all across France. The impressionist painting, "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep" was one of the looted artworks belonging to a Parisian Jewish businessman Raoul Meyer, Reuters reports. In 2013, Leone filed a lawsuit against the university claiming that the painting was recognized as a plundered artwork that entered the U.S. without the family's consent in 1956.
"She could have chosen to keep this painting in some type of private, closed-door type of situation," Leone's attorney Pierre Ciric said of her client, Yahoo claims. "Instead, she said she thought it was important for the public to still see this painting."
Leone, now 76, said that she will donate the impressionist painting to an art institution in France during her s lifetime or will be included in her will. The University President David L. Boren, claimed that they are glad that the artwork will still be accessible to the Oklahomas and will still serve a great help for educational purposes.