Elizabeth Taylor’s Disputed Van Gogh In London

A painting by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh belonging to Actress Elizabeth Taylor will be the centerpiece in the Taylor Auction at Christie’s 7-8 February 2012. . The show, comprising of more than 100 pieces, continues on a world tour and stops in London this weekend. It will also travel to Los Angeles, Dubai, Geneva, Paris, Hong Kong and New York. Visitors to the London preview will be charged 10 pounds and the boxed five-volume catalog costs $300. A portion of these proceeds will be donated to the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation. The controversial painting was upheld after a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit by the relatives of a Jewish woman who said she was forced to sell it before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939. Taylor was sued by Margarete Mauthner for the return of  “View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint-Remy.” The work was painted in 1889, a year before van Gogh committed suicide.  The painting was purchased by Taylor’s father in 1963. Taylor was the daughter of an art dealer, who championed the work of Augustus John in the U.S. He bought Van Gogh’s 1889 landscape “Vue de l’Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy” for his daughter for 92,000 pounds at Sotheby’s. It is valued at up to $30,000,000 and is a museum worthy example of the troubled artists late period. In 2007 Taylor’s lawyers, stated the painting was sold through two Jewish art dealers to a Jewish art collector with no evidence of any Nazi coercion or participation in the transactions. “Holocaust art.” That time lapse creates an insurmountable burden for some plaintiffs’ efforts to recover their property: the current possessor’s assertion of a statute-of-limitations defense. This article describes an alternative route to restitution in those situations. Under federal law, stolen property is forfeitable if the government demonstrates an indictable offense under the National Stolen Property Act (NSPA). This kind of in rem civil forfeiture action is independent of, and does not require the government to undertake, a criminal prosecution under the NSPA. Christie’s International is auctioning Taylor’s estate. The New York and London sales are exhibiting part of the 1,000 lots of jewelry, couture and art formerly owned by the Oscar- winning actress and philanthropist.Taylor died in March, aged 79.
Highlights from The Elizabeth Taylor collection are on show at Christie’s, 24-26 September

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