The Arty Semite

Heirs Seek Return of Stolen Modigliani Painting

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share

The Helly Nahmad Gallery in New York is not saying whether it is in possession of a famous and highly valuable 1918 painting by Amedeo Modigliani. Heirs to the original owner of the artwork, which was stolen and auctioned off by the Nazis in 1944, are suing Nahmad for its return or its “fair market value,” which is estimated to be between $18 million and $25 million.

Amedeo Modigliani, ‘Seated Man With a Cane,’ 1918.

Helly Nahmad is the son of Beirut-born billionaire art dealer David Nahmad.

According to The Daily Mail, Philippe Maestracci has filed papers with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan claiming that the painting, “Seated Man With a Cane,” was owned by his grandfather Oscar Stettiner, a prominent art gallery owner in Paris. Stettiner and his family fled to the south of France in advance of the Nazi occupation of Paris, leaving behind his property. The Nazis sold the painting, along with other “degenerate art” at auction in 1944, and since then it was impossible to trace due to inaccurate labeling.

But since 2008, Maestracci has believed that Nahmad is in possession of “Seated Man With a Cane,” and that he is planning to sell it through Sotheby’s. He is trying to get it back using the argument that that the sale of the painting by the Nazis is “void since it occurred without the owner’s consent in violation of international law and New York’s law and public policy not to recognize forced sales under the Nazi regime.”

Maestracci has reportedly contacted the Helly Nahmad Gallery several times requesting the return of the painting and has received no reply.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Amedeo Modigliani, Helly Nahmad Gallery, Oscar Stettiner, Philippe Maestracci, Renee Ghert-Zand, Seated man With a Cane

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.