An ongoing legal battle over Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'Adam and Eve' (circa 1530) has again erupted in a Nazi restitution case brought by Marei Von Saher, the daughter-in-law of Dutch art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, against Pasadena's Norton Simon Museum.
On Friday a federal appeals court reversed a decision made by U.S. District Judge John Walters in 2012 that dismissed Von Saher’s claim on the work. The case will now be revived in district court.
“Von Saher’s claims do not conflict with any federal policy because the Cranachs were never subject to postwar internal restitution proceedings in the Netherlands,” ruled Judge Dorothy Nelson, according to Courthouse News. “This matter is, instead, a dispute between private parties.”
The paintings have a complicated history of ownership, including Kiev’s Church of the Holy Trinity, where they resided for some 400 years, before being moved by the Soviets. on Saher claims that the pair was stolen from her father-in-law, Jacques Goudstikker, a Jewish art dealer in the Netherlands, during World War II. Goudstikker died on an Atlantic crossing while escaping the Nazis. The paintings were restituted to the Dutch government by the Monuments Men. The Norton Simon acquired them in 1971.