painting originally belonged to Julius Cassirer, a Jewish German industrialist, who bought it in 1898. The work eventually ended up in the hands of his daughter-in-law, Lilly Cassirer, who was forced by the Nazi government to leave the painting behind while fleeing Germany in the months leading up to the outbreak of World War II. The Cassirer family, believing the painting to be lost, accepted compensation from an Allied tribunal after the war.
In 1999, Lilly Cassirer’s grandson, Claude Cassirer, was informed that his family’s long-lost painting hung in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The painting, which had resurfaced in Munich after the war, was purchased by an American art dealer in 1951 before it was acquired by Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza at a New York auction in 1976. Claude Cassirer sued the museum in 2005. Following his death in 2010, the case was taken over by his son David.
The court’s ruling is the most recent resolution in ongoing efforts to restitute Nazi-looted artworks. Last month, the Cerruti Foundation in Turin, Italy reached a deal
with the family of Gustav Arens, who had owned Jacopo del Sellaio
’s Madonna and Child with the Young St John and Two Angels
(1480–85) before it was stolen by Nazis in 1942. The foundation agreed to financially compensate the Arens family, allowing the work to stay in its collection.