NEW YORK — A 93-year-old German widow has lost a bid to restore her claim to a painting by Impressionist Claude Monet stolen after World War II because, a court ruled, she had not tried hard enough to recover it.
The U.S. Court of Appeals, reversing a lower court ruling, said Gerda Dorothea De Weerth had not used "reasonable diligence" in trying to secure Monet's "Champs de Ble a Vetheuil," an oil landscape valued at $500,000.
The court said De Weerth, of Bad-Godesberg, West Germany, had lost her claim by failing to "conduct any search for 24 years from 1957 to 1981," a period during which "there were several published references to it in the art world."
De Weerth sued the present owner, Edith Baldinger, in 1983. Baldinger purchased the Impressionistic landscape at a New York gallery in 1957 for $30,900.