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Yale aims to keep Van Gogh

March 25, 2009|Associated Press

Yale University is suing to hang onto one of Vincent van Gogh's most famous works.

The Ivy League university sued Tuesday in federal court in Connecticut to assert its ownership rights over "The Night Cafe." It also seeks to block a descendant of the original owner from claiming it.

Pierre Konowaloff is the purported great-grandson of industrialist and aristocrat Ivan Morozov, who owned the painting in 1918. Russia nationalized Morozov's property during the Communist revolution. The painting, which the Soviet government later sold, has been hanging in the Yale University Art Gallery for almost 50 years.

Yale's lawsuit says that Konowaloff's attorney last year asserted that his client owned the 1888 painting and sent a draft complaint of a federal lawsuit. The school says it wants to remove any cloud over its ownership.

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