US Supreme Court won’t take case of Nazi-looted art
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US Supreme Court won’t take case of Nazi-looted art

Judges leave in place ruling in favor of California museum in dispute over ownership of two German Renaissance paintings

The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, January 21, 2015. (AP Photo/John Antczak,)
The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, January 21, 2015. (AP Photo/John Antczak,)

The US Supreme Court is leaving in place a ruling for a California museum in a dispute over ownership of two German Renaissance masterpieces seized by the Nazis in World War II.

The high court on Monday declined to get involved in the case, leaving in place lower court rulings.

A federal appeals court ruled in 2018 for Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum of Art, blocking a lawsuit over ownership of “Adam” and “Eve.” The paintings are by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Marei von Saher alleged that the works were seized from her father-in-law, a Jewish art dealer, after he fled Holland during the Holocaust.

The Norton Simon says it legally acquired the works in the 1970s from the descendant of Russian aristocrats who had them wrongly taken by the Soviet Union in the 1920s.

Lucas Cranach the Elder painted the works in around 1530. In 1971, they were acquired by the museum for $800,000, the equivalent of about $4.8 million today. They were appraised at $24 million in 2006.

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