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Arbitration Panel Finds No Evidence that Painting was “Looted”

Monday, August, 25, 2014

The heirs of Clara Levy, a prominent Jewish industrialist who was persecuted by the Nazi regime in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, do not have a claim to ownership of the painting “The Three Graces” by German artist Lovis Corinth, which they had asserted had been “looted” from Levy by the Nazis.


The arbitration panel, funded by the German government specifically to handle property claims of this nature, stated there was no evidence of looting involving the painting, in fact, there was a clear paper trail showing that the Levy family shipped the artwork to New York City in early 1940.  The painting then legally changed hands several times and eventually returned to Germany after World War II had ended.


The painting is currently owned by the Bavarian State Painting Collections.  The Levy family had been involved in private negotiations for the return of the painting and brought the claim to arbitration when those negotiations failed.


The Nazi party routinely seized artwork and other valuables from Jewish citizens and conquered areas of Europe, Africa and Asia during its rise to power within Germany and its aggressive invasion of surrounding territories during the war.  The confusion and chaos created by displaced families and the attempted genocide of Jews in the Holocaust was so great that many artworks thought lost are still being discovered today, resulting in regular claims being brought to the German government requesting the return of looted artwork to the descendants of the original owners.