Guggenheim Museum SOUTH by family demanding the return of Picasso paintings sold by their Jewish ancestors

The Guggenheim Museum is facing a lawsuit from a Jewish family who claim their ancestors were exploited by a renowned art dealer after he bought a painting by Pablo Picasso from them while fleeing the Nazis in 1938.

Spanish artist Woman Ironing’s (La repasseuse) 1904 work was gifted to the Guggenheim in 1978 by the family of art dealer Justin Thannhauser, who bought the painting from Karl and Rosi Adler when the couple were trying to flee to South America.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in a Manhattan Superior Court, Thannhauser, a lifelong friend of Picasso, paid the Adlers $1,552 for the painting. Thannhauser’s family donated the painting to the Guggenheim Foundation free of charge in 1976.

The lawsuit, which was filed by the Eagles’ relatives, including their grandchildren, says the couple would never have sold at that price had they not been pursued, according to the New York Post.

In 2012, a New York Times article entitled “Woman Ironing” was one of the [Guggenheim museum’s] the most valuable possessions.’

According to the Guggenheim website, Picasso lent

According to the Guggenheim website, Picasso “lent his figure a poetic, almost spiritual presence, making him a metaphor for the misfortunes of the working poor”.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court, Justin Thannhauser, shown here, paid the Adlers $1,552 for the painting

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court, Justin Thannhauser, shown here, paid the Adlers $1,552 for the painting

The family says the painting is “unlawfully owned by the Guggenheim.” The lawsuit estimates the painting’s value at between $100 million and $200 million.

The Adler family acquired the painting in Munich in 1916 from Thannhauser’s father Heinrich.

After the rise of Hitler, the Adlers saw their lives “shattered” when Hitler came to power.

During this time, Karl Adler attempted to sell the painting, asking $14,000, about $300,000 in today’s money, for the work, but ultimately chose to keep it.

Less than a year before World War II began, in 1938, the couple had no choice but to sell as Nazi policies deprived them of jobs and opportunities.

They sold the painting back to Thannhauser for just $1,552, around $32,000 in 2023. Thannhauser later fled his homeland and settled in New York. After his death in 1976, he donated the Picasso and many other works to the Guggenheim.

The couple left Germany and spent some time hopping around Europe even as World War II broke out. In 1940 the crossing to Argentina was won.

In 2012, a New York Times article entitled

In 2012, a New York Times article entitled “Woman Ironing” was one of the [Guggenheim museum’s] the most valuable possessions

According to a section of the lawsuit, “Thannhauser bought comparable masterpieces from other German Jews who fled Germany and benefited from their misfortune.

“Thannhauser was aware of the plight of Adler and his family and that, but for Nazi persecution, Adler would never have sold the painting for such a price,” according to the Post.

Rosi Adler died in Buenos Aires in 1946 and Karl died back in Germany in 1957 at the age of 85. It wasn’t until now that the family realized they might try to reclaim the painting.

The lawsuit invokes the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016 as the legal basis for the painting’s return.

According to the Guggenheim website, “Picasso gave his subject a poetic, almost spiritual presence, making it a metaphor for the misfortunes of the working poor.”

Picasso painted the work in 1904 at the age of 22.

The New York Times reported in 1978 that Woman Ironing was given to the Guggenheim along with Van Gogh's Mountains in Saint-Remy, Manet's Woman Before a Mirror, and two paintings by Renoir

The New York Times reported in 1978 that Woman Ironing was given to the Guggenheim along with Van Gogh’s Mountains in Saint-Remy, Manet’s Woman Before a Mirror, and two paintings by Renoir

The New York Times reported in 1978 that Woman Ironing was given to the Guggenheim along with Van Gogh’s Mountains in Saint-Remy, Manet’s Woman Before a Mirror, and two paintings by Renoir.

The work refers to the Ironing Woman exhibited in Munich in 1913 in the first public retrospective of Picasso’s work.

The article also refers to Thannhauser collecting artworks around the time of the rise of the Nazis as his “heroic period”.

The painting was extensively damaged while on temporary display in Paris in 1952 when a thief attempted to cut it from its frame. He didn’t get the painting, but the canvas required a lengthy repair.

In 2009, a similar lawsuit was filed against the New York Museums over Picasso’s Boy Leading a Horse and Le Moulin de la Galette, both of which once belonged to Thannhauser and whose original owners wanted to be returned.

Ultimately, it was agreed that Boy Leading to Horse would remain at the Museum of Modern Art and Le Moulin de la Galette at the Guggenheim.

In the past, courts have ordered the return of Nazi-looted art to the heirs of former Jewish owners.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11661607/Guggenheim-Museum-SUED-family-demanding-return-Picasso-painting-sold-Jewish-ancestors.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Guggenheim Museum SOUTH by family demanding the return of Picasso paintings sold by their Jewish ancestors

Emma Colton

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