US judge awards art of the Holocaust heirs

Egon Schiele

A judge in New York has awarded two of Nazi-looted artwork to the heirs of an Austrian victim of the Holocaust.

Drawings – Woman Hiding Her Face and the Woman in a Black Apron by Egon Schiele – will go to the heirs of Fritz Grunbaum, killed in Dachau concentration camp, in 1941.

The Nazis confiscated Grunbaum’s 449-piece art collection, when he was arrested in 1938.

London-based art dealer Richard Nagy had claimed a legal title to the works.

He had exposed the drawings on a 2015 exhibition of art in New York, where heirs discovered the art was for sale.

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Mr. Nagy said that he had purchased legally. But the Manhattan state court ruled against him, citing the 2016 Holocaust Expropriated Art of Recovery (Listen to) the Law.

Egon Schiele

The act expanded the statute of limitations for making claims about the Nazi stolen art to six years after its “discovery.”

Raymond Dowd, a lawyer for the Grunbaum heirs – Timothy Rafa, David Fraenkel, and Milos Vavra – argued that the loss of the works that were not discovered by clients until they realized that they were on sale at the art fair.

After the sentence, the Lord’dowd, praised the decision to move “one more step” to the recovery of art taken in “the greatest mass theft in history.”

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The case follows a failed attempt by Milos Vavra and Mr Dowd in 2005 to win the restitution of another Schiele drawing from Grunbaum collection.

The court in that case ruled in favor of Boston business man who was owner of the work, on the basis that too much time had passed since the heirs had made their claim.