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Picasso works stay with MoMA, Guggenheim

February 03, 2009|Reuters

The Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim will hold onto two Picasso paintings after reaching a settlement with a Jewish German scholar who claimed he was the rightful owner of the art.

Lawyers for Julius Schoeps and the museums told a Manhattan federal judge Monday the dispute over ownership of "Boy Leading a Horse" and "Le Moulin de la Galette" had been settled. A trial was due to start Monday.

In 2007, MoMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation sued Schoeps, who claimed he was the heir of art collector and banker Paul Robert Ernst von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Schoeps contended the banker, his great uncle, was forced to relinquish the paintings in Nazi Germany.

In an unusual reprimand, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff strongly urged both sides to release terms of the settlement, saying that it would be "extraordinarily unfortunate that the public would be left without knowing what the truth is."

He gave both sides 30 days to explain why the settlement should remain confidential.

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