An interesting pending restitution case, where ownership is disputed, concerns Modigliani’s 1918 painting Seated Man with a Cane.
The Art Newspaper, in their issue 233, March 2012 has provided an update in this case as an interesting legal twist takes place.
Mr Maestracci is suing art dealers David Nahmad and Helly Nahmad for the return of his claimed late grandfather’s painting. Mr Maestracci, claims his grandfather Oscar Stettiner, a Parisian dealer owned the painting. Stettiner fled Paris in 1939 and the Nazis then arranged for the sale of Stettiner’s property.
According to Artnet the work was bought at Christie’s London in June 1996 for $3.2 million. Mr Maestracci says he was alerted to the provenance issues when the painting came up for sale in auction at Sotheby’s in 2008.
The latest twist in this case is that lawyer for the Nahmad family Richard Golub is arguing that The International Art Center purchased the painting. Therefore it is argued that Mr Maestracci has brought the claim against the wrong plaintiff and therefore also in the wrong jurisdiction.
Lawyers for Mr Maestracci, Mr Dowd of Dunnington Bartholow & Miller argues that The International Art Center is an offshore organisation used by the Nahmad’s to hold their art objects; an art storage facility at the free port of Geneva.
Watch this space as this case unfolds.