Attorney: U. of Oklahoma Settles Suit over Painting Stolen by Nazis

February 24, 2016

An attorney for a French woman who sued the University of Oklahoma over a painting that the Nazis stole from her family says a settlement has been reached and that the university will return the painting to her.

New York attorney Pierre Ciric told The Associated Press that the settlement was signed by both parties regarding ownership of the painting “Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep” by the impressionist master Camille Pissaro.

He says under the settlement, 100 percent the painting’s title will be transferred to his client, Leona Meyers. The agreement also calls for the painting to be displayed publicly at OU’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, Oklahoma, and a museum in France.

Meyer filed the lawsuit in May 2013, saying the painting belonged to her adopted father. Meyer, a Jewish woman who lives in Paris, wrote an open letter in 2014 that said her biological family was killed at Auschwitz between 1942 and 1944. Meyer survived the Holocaust and was adopted by Raoul and Yvonne Meyer in 1946.

Raoul Meyer fled to the United States, but returned to Europe in 1945 and found the painting missing. He discovered it in Geneva six years later — a year after the statute of limitations ran out. He claimed subsequent owners made a weak attempt to prove the Pissarro wasn’t on a list of known Nazi-looted works. A Swiss court found that post-war owners had done due diligence and rejected Meyer’s claim.

Oklahoma oil tycoon Aaron Weitzenhoffer and his wife, Clara, purchased the painting from a New York gallery in 1956. It was donated to the university when Clara Weitzenhoffer died in 2000

A university spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment.


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