When Jews Attack 319 – Victim – Bavaria – Attackers – Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Heirs

The German state of Bavaria has said that it will not return a $100 million Picasso portrait in its possession that was originally owned by a wealthy Jewish art collector in Berlin during the Holocaust.

The chef d’oeuvre, Madame Soler, had belonged to Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, from the wealthy family of Jewish financiers and a relative of the 19th-century composer Felix Mendelssohn.

The family of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy claims this Picasso painting, Madame Soler, was sold under duress during the Nazi regime

In March 1933, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy grew concerned about the security of his property and arranged to transport five Picassos he owned to Switzerland for storage.

According to a report in the New York Times in 2007, he arranged for a Swiss dealer to receive them and place them into storage.

But one year later Mendelssohn-Bartholdy decided to sell them to a gallery in Munich and his heirs are suing, claiming that the man was forced to sell the valuable art under duress.

The Heirs to the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy estate had previously sued both the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim for two Picassos in their possession that had been owned by their ancestor.

The gallery owner who originally purchased the valuable pieces, Justin K. Thannhauser, had given Le Moulin de la Galette to the Guggenheim in 1963 and sold Boy Leading a Horse to CBS founder, William S. Paley, who donated it to the Museum of Modern Art in 1964.

The family was awarded a $5 million settlement.

Madame Soler was sold by Thannhauser, who fled Germany in 1937, to the Bavarian State Paintings Collection in 1964.

‘This is a case of great historical importance involving Germany’s most famous Jewish family,’ the lawyer for the family, John Byrne Jr., told the New York Post.

‘We are perplexed and disappointed by Bavaria’s failure to properly address the important issues involved in this matter,’ he added.