Partner Amelia Sargent authored an article for the Fall 2020 edition of the Art & Cultural Heritage Law Newsletter titled “Ninth Circuit Affirms Judgment that Spain’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection May Keep Nazi-Looted Pissarro.”
The Art & Cultural Heritage Law Newsletter is a publication of the Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee, which is part of the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law.
Amelia’s article discusses the Ninth Circuit’s affirmation of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s final judgment in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, 824 Fed. Appx. 452 (9th Cir. 2020). The Ninth Circuit affirmed that the Kingdom of Spain’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation (TBC) may keep Camille Pissarro’s painting entitled “Rue St. Honoré, après midi, effet de pluie.” As TBC lacked actual knowledge, when it acquired the painting in 1993, that it had previously been stolen by the Nazi regime from its rightful owner, the Court affirmed that TBC had good title to the Pissarro painting under Spanish law.
Amelia writes that “[l]ike the district court, however, the Ninth Circuit admonished TBC and Spain for what it viewed as the inconsistency of its litigation position with its moral obligations. The Ninth Circuit pointedly noted that Spain had previously agreed to the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art and the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust-Era Assets and Related Issues, both of which called for participant countries to achieve ‘just and fair solution[s]’ in remedying Nazi-era looting of art and cultural property. The Ninth Circuit ultimately agreed with the district court that it could not order compliance with those declarations, saying, ‘It is perhaps unfortunate that a country and a government can preen as moralistic in its declarations, yet not be bound by those declarations. But that is the state of the law.’”
To read Amelia’ article in ABA’s Art & Cultural Heritage Law Newsletter, Fall 2020 edition click here (page 4-5).