WASHINGTON, DC.- The heirs of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy are pleased to announce that they have reached a Settlement Agreement with the Trustees of The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation resolving their ownership claim to the painting The Absinthe Drinker (Angel Fernandez de Soto) (1903) by Pablo Picasso. The terms of the Settlement Agreement are confidential in their entirety. The heirs now relinquish any and all claims of title to this painting.
The Mendelssohn heirs settled other matters in 2009 with the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation:
The Mendelssohn heirs settled other matters in 2009 regarding art Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy transferred in Nazi Germany. In New York, the Mendelssohn heirs reached a settlement agreement in 2009 with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) regarding Picasso's Boy Leading a Horse (1905) and with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (Guggenheim) concerning Picasso's Le Moulin de la Galette (1900). Prior to the settlement and while the case was in litigation, Judge Jed S. Rakoff, U.S.D.J., found that the Mendelssohn heirs "have adduced competent evidence that Paul [von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy] never intended to transfer any of his paintings and that he was forced to transfer them only because of threats and economic pressure by the Nazi government." Schoeps v. Museum of Modern Art, 594 F.Supp.2d 461, 466 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (Emphasis and italics added).
Judge Rakoff's well-reasoned ruling represented a landmark decision in the field of Holocaust-era art recovery in the U.S. For the first time ever, a U.S. court recognized that victims of Nazi persecution who lost artworks and perhaps other materials as a result of Nazi duress and pressure have a viable judicial remedy to reclaim their property without needing to establish that Nazi authorities seized it directly or ordered a particular sale. The Mendelssohn heirs are gratified to have participated in a case that expands dramatically the potential opportunities of Holocaust victims and heirs to recover property wrongfully taken from them.
Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was a nephew of the famous composer, Felix Mendelssohn, and was a descendant of Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn.