More Issues for th Wildensteins

Fellow appraiser Louise Allrich, ASA send me an interesting article on the problems and issue of the Wildensteins, the dynastic French gallery family.  The article is about a criminal complaint against the Wildensteins about a work by Monet which may have been seized by the Nazi's during World Was II.  The past owners family is now claiming the Wildensteins new the missing painting was looted by the Nazi's and they know of its whereabouts.

I have posted on some of the problems the Wildensteins have had in the past, (Click HERE to read previous posts), and it seems the trouble just continues to grow with allegations of possible connections to Nazi looted art.

Again another intriguing art story.  Most of these stories of international art intrigue are better than fiction.

The NY Times reports

Last summer, after Ms. Moulin filed a criminal complaint against the Wildensteins, the French authorities ordered a preliminary investigation. An anti-art-trafficking squad is sifting through World War II documents to pick up the trail of the work, “Torrent de la Creuse,” Monet’s 1889 study of the confluence of the Creuse and the Petite Creuse Rivers.

“It’s not a question of the price of the painting,” Ms. Moulin said in an interview here in her art-filled apartment. “It’s a question of a victory against the Germans and. ...” Her voice trailed off.

The Wildensteins, who have been selling art for five generations, have steadfastly denied any knowledge of the painting’s whereabouts. But Daniel Wildenstein, an Impressionist scholar who died in 2001, included it in two of his widely embraced inventories of Monet’s work. In both he listed it as being in a private collection: an anonymous owner in the first reference and an unidentified American owner in 1996.

The suspicions of Ms. Moulin and her family were aroused last year when more than 30 artworks that had been reported missing or stolen were found in a vault at the Wildenstein Institute, a nonprofit research organization the Wildensteins run from a mansion on the Right Bank. The items, most of which had vanished years earlier during the settlement of estates, were recovered in an unrelated investigation.

But members of one Jewish family told the police that they believed a sculpture of theirs recovered from the vault could have been looted by the Nazis because it appeared on no postwar estate lists.

Guy Wildenstein, the billionaire who leads the family business from New York, declined through his lawyers to comment on Ms. Moulin’s accusations. But he has contended that the institute never hid missing works, saying it simply lacked a full inventory of what was in its vault.

Lawyers for Mr. Wildenstein, who is Jewish, have strenuously denied that any of the seized items were Nazi loot.
Source: NY Times

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