A Japanese museum is refusing to return an allegedly stolen painting to a British family without “just and reasonable compensation.” The painting in question, a Joshua Reynolds
portrait of a young girl and her dog, was reportedly taken from the home of late menswear mogul Sir Henry Price and his wife Lady Price in 1984. Art Recovery International (ARI), which tracks missing art, has called on the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to intervene and ask Tokyo’s Fuji Art Museum to return the painting, arguing that the museum is violating ICOM’s Code of Ethics
Reynolds’s oil-on-canvas Portrait of Miss Mathew, later lady Elizabeth Mathew sitting with her dog before a landscape (1780) is valued at £1 million ($1.2 million). In 1988, the disputed painting was sold at Sotheby’s to a dealer who then sold it to the Fuji Art Museum. Christopher Marinello, head of ARI, said the museum did not conduct due diligence when it purchased the painting in 1990, as it is required to do as a member of ICOM.