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NY Court revives suit against University of OK over Holocaust Pissarro Painting

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posted on Mar, 15 2015 @ 11:47 PM
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Swiss records show father owned painting before it was stolen by Nazi's

Shepherdess Brining In The Sheep





A federal appeals court has given new life to a Holocaust survivor's claim that the University of Oklahoma is unjustly harboring a Camille Pissarro painting that the Nazis stole from her father during World War II.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has directed a lower-court judge to consider whether the lawsuit she threw out should be transferred to Oklahoma, saying she has authority to do so.

The school and University President David Boren are defendants in the lawsuit brought in 2013 by 75-year-old Holocaust survivor Leone Meyer, who lives in Paris.

She maintained she is entitled to Pissarro's 1886 'Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep' because it belonged to her father when it was taken by the Nazis as Germany moved across France.

Her father, Raoul Mayer, died in 1970.

Swiss records show Meyer's father in Paris had owned the painting. But a Swiss court ruled that the painting's post-war owners had properly established ownership and rejected her claim.

Bequeathed to OU by Clara Weitzenhoffer, the wife of oil tycoon Aaron Weitzenhoffer, the school displayed it publicly for over a decade.

The Weitzenhoffers bought the painting from a New York gallery in 1956. When she died in 2000, she donated more than 30 works worth about $50 million to the University of Oklahoma.

In an emailed statement Saturday, Oklahoma University spokeswoman Catherine F. Bishop said: 'The University is continuing its efforts to work with the plaintiffs to determine all the facts in this matter, some of which may still be unknown, and to seek a mutually agreeable resolution.'

Last year, Boren defended Oklahoma University's ownership, saying the school does not want to keep any items it does not legitimately own but also wants to avoid a bad precedent by automatically giving away gifts it receives to anyone who claims them.

Boren and the school have opposed the lawsuit on largely procedural grounds, saying the school has sovereign immunity and that Meyer was not diligent in pursuing her claim and had sued in New York rather than Oklahoma as a 'forum shopping strategy' to avoid Oklahoma's more restrictive statute of limitations.



What jerks. Great way to teach your students. It's not ours guys, but we're going to fight to the death to keep it! Her death that is! Apparently some lawmakers are ticked! And I can't say I blame them. I hope that they take this opportunity to close loopholes, or what have you, to make it so that if this happens again, property, or monies, are returned to victims of any crime.




posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 12:04 AM
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I wouldn't even want that painting hanging on my wall. There are many nicer ones made by regular people that are nicer.

If someone wants to waste all kind of money buying paintings by people made famous by rich people building the values up, I suppose I should feel sorry for them. Influential people have made these paintings worth something so their belongings are worth more. What a way to build wealth.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 07:54 AM
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originally posted by: rickymouse
I wouldn't even want that painting hanging on my wall. There are many nicer ones made by regular people that are nicer.

If someone wants to waste all kind of money buying paintings by people made famous by rich people building the values up, I suppose I should feel sorry for them. Influential people have made these paintings worth something so their belongings are worth more. What a way to build wealth.



Whether we want the painting or not makes no difference. University or Oklahoma is claiming they have immunity from being sued and the stolen painting is theirs irregardless, even though records show it belongs to the woman in France. It's about ethics.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 12:25 PM
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a reply to: Anyafaj

Yeah, that painting should go back to the owner it was stolen from or their kids. Since the painting was donated, and this was considered a contribution, the one who gave it should still receive any tax credits for the donation though. Unless the one who deceived everyone is found, nobody should suffer loss from this deal.

The University does not need that painting to teach the kids what they are supposed to be teaching them. It is just bragging rights which has nothing to do with education. If they were to sell the other paintings, they could buy more teaching equipment.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 12:37 PM
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originally posted by: rickymouse
a reply to: Anyafaj

Yeah, that painting should go back to the owner it was stolen from or their kids. Since the painting was donated, and this was considered a contribution, the one who gave it should still receive any tax credits for the donation though. Unless the one who deceived everyone is found, nobody should suffer loss from this deal.

The University does not need that painting to teach the kids what they are supposed to be teaching them. It is just bragging rights which has nothing to do with education. If they were to sell the other paintings, they could buy more teaching equipment.




Exactly. In my opinion, by keeping stolen property, they're really teaching a bad example to the students. But that's just me.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 12:42 PM
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a reply to: Anyafaj

You're not alone, I bet many people have the same attitude towards this.



posted on Mar, 16 2015 @ 08:28 PM
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originally posted by: rickymouse
a reply to: Anyafaj

You're not alone, I bet many people have the same attitude towards this.



Apparently OK lawmakers are ticked off at the school over this saying it sets a bad example for the kids. (Who knew lawmakers would finally get ethical?!?) The school is pissed she filed in NY state because she knew if she filed in OK, she'd automatically lose. I say good for her for filing where she at least has a measure of a chance. I hope the lawmakers see this and take away the schools "sovereign immunity", if they can't do that, at least make it so in the future crime victims can get their property back more easily without having to go through the courts, as long as they have proof of ownership.



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