Federal court of appeals order affirms dismissal of all claims against the National Gallery, London, regarding Matisse painting

September 12, 2018

Senior Manager, Media Relations
Nicholas Braude

New York, NY. Nixon Peabody’s Arts and Cultural Institutions team, led by partners Thaddeus J. Stauber, Sarah Erickson André, and Kristin M. Jamberdino, successfully upheld an earlier decision that Henri Matisse’s painting "Portrait of Greta Moll” (1908) belongs at the National Gallery, London.

In a unanimous decision regarding a modern day claim to the Matisse painting – which has been on public display at the National Gallery since 1979—the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed all of the claimants’ arguments finding them to be, in the court’s own words, “without merit.”

The 3–0 decision affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York’s earlier dismissal, which came after the National Gallery had conducted and shared, with the claimants, the results of an extensive provenance review into the Matisse painting’s history.

“Working with the National Gallery and its leadership, especially given its open approach to sharing the research and meeting with the claimants over many years to review the modern day claims, gave us the confidence to seek a prompt dismissal. It is rewarding to have the U.S. courts agree and act decisively to dismiss the case and affirm the district court’s decision on all counts,” said Thaddeus J. Stauber and Sarah Erickson André.

Update—On October 29, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an order denying Plaintiffs’ petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc.

The case is Williams et al v. The National Gallery, London, The American Friends of the National Gallery, London, Inc. and the United Kingdom, No. 17-3253.

More about the National Gallery and the decision can be found on the National Gallery’s website: www.nationalgallery.org.uk

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