Brief Amicus Curiae Filed in Konowaloff v. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10-Cv-9126 (United Stated District Court Southern District of New York), of the Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies, Michael Berenbaum, Christian Defrancia, Edward M. Gaffney, Jr., Gregory S. Gordon, Michael J. Kelly, Jordan J. Paust, Pammela A. Saunders, Krista Sigler, Ronald G. Suny, and Fritz Wienschenk, in Support of Plaintiff
26 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2020
Date Written: June 3, 2011
Brief Amicus Curiae Filed in Konowaloff v. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The brief was filed in a case seeking restitution on behalf of Pierre Konowaloff, whose family's property was confiscated by Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution on Lenin's orders in 1918. The Russian Revolution and rise to power of Josef Stalin resulted in the deaths of over 20 million people. Cold War politics and subsequent diplomacy never allowed for resolution of the vast majority of claims to confiscated property. The painting at issue is Portrait of Madame Cezanne by Paul Cezanne, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The museum received the painting as a bequest in 1960. The painting today is valued at $50 million to $70 million, but some believe it would fetch $100 million if it came to market today. The deeply researched amicus brief counsels the court to analyze the legal defenses of the Act of State doctrine and New York time-bar principles in light of true historical context, rather than knee-jerk, broad assumptions about historical events.
Keywords: Art, Theft, Cultural Property, Holocaust, History, International, Act of State, Separation of Powers, Jurisdiction, Russia, Russian, Time Bar, Statute of Limitations, Limitation, Laches
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