The object of a standoff between the Oklahoma Museum and the French heiress of its former owners, a painting by Camille Pissarro, looted by the Nazis during the Occupation, was the subject of heated debate on Tuesday. at the Paris judicial court, the American party refusing the French court's injunction for mediation between the parties.
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The summary judge deplored the attitude of the representatives of the Oklahoma Museum: “
The mediators were unable to meet with the parties in Oklahoma despite a delay of two and a half months
since the court's decision to order a mediation.
It is a form of contempt for the French courts.
I completely regret that we consider (on the American side) that the decisions of the French courts do not have to be respected. ”
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The Shepherdess Returning from the Sheep
, which has been in the United States since the 1950s, was bequeathed in 2000 to the Fred Jones Jr Museum at the University of Oklahoma.
In this case which, since 2016, has opposed this university to Léone Meyer, 81 years old, heir to the former owner of the painting, a canvas painted in 1886 by Pissarro and looted by the Nazis in 1941, French justice and American justice are playing scores parallels.
Last episode to date, an American judge demanded at the end of February that Ms. Meyer abandon the proceedings in France on pain of a very heavy fine of $ 3.65 million.
Ms. Meyer's lawyer, Mr. Ron Soffer, presented a summons on Tuesday requesting the annulment of this American decision but the American side claimed to have never received this summons despite the copies of emails presented at the hearing by the defense by Mrs. Meyer.
" said the summary judge ironically, who set for March 9 a new hearing to examine this summons.
Regarding the merits of the case, the deliberation was set for June 2.
A request for sequestration of the painting, currently housed at the Musée d'Orsay but which, according to the American justice system, should return to Oklahoma on July 21, will be examined on April 13.
Nothing can obstruct the restitution of a work looted by the Nazis
", pleaded Me Soffer.
We are obviously in empathy with Ms. Meyer,
" replied Me Olivier de Baecque, one of the lawyers at the American university.
Before adding: "
But it is not for the University of Oklahoma to repair the wounds of history