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August 19, 2016

Court Says Norton Simon Museum Can Keep Nazi-Looted Works

Ruling this week in one of the most prominent disputes over artworks stolen by the Nazis during World War II, a California judge allowed the Norton Simon Museum to keep two 16th-century masterpieces formerly belonging to a Dutch Jewish art dealer, The Art Newspaper reports.

U.S. District Court Judge John Walter said descendants of Jacques Goudstikker had failed to meet mandated deadlines for filing an ownership claim to the portraits of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder, which were obtained by the Nazis after Mr. Goudstikker fled the Netherlands in 1940. They later came into the hands of a Russian collector, who sold them to Norton Simon in 1971, since which time they have been displayed at the Pasadena, Calif., museum.

The decision Monday came 19 months after the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the museum to dismiss the case, which has stretched on for a decade. A lawyer for Marei von Saher, the Goudstikker heir who brought the suit, said she plans to appeal.