Court case over three Derain paintings will test France's promise to speed up Nazi-era claims
Art Law

Court case over three Derain paintings will test France’s promise to speed up Nazi-era claims

Top: André Derain’s Pinède à Cassis (Pine Landscape, 1907) now housed at the Cantini Museum in Marseilles Cantini Museum © ADAGP; Paris and DACS; London 2019 France has long been accused of dragging its feet on the restitution of Nazi-era loot. According to a French government report published last year, France’s policies are characterised by “time delays” and “weak responses and inaction”. France pledged to improve research in this area at an international conference in Berlin last December and is setting up a taskforce to tackle some of these issues. But a major court case will put these assurances to the test. The Ministry of Culture has been summoned to appear in court at the end of June by the heirs of René Gimpel, an art dealer who died in a concentration camp in 1945. His grandchildren accuse the French state museums of blocking the restitution of three paintings by André Derain since 2013. Born in 1881, Gimpel, who was related to the Wildenstein and Duveen families, became one of the most prominent art dealers of the 20th century. In 1902, his father Ernest opened the Gimpel & Wildenstein Gallery in Manhattan, selling 18th-century French and British works to […]

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