Collector pays 6.5m to keep Nazi-looted Picasso

1945 11 August 2005

WASHINGTON - A Chicago woman has agreed to pay USD 6.5 million (EUR 5.2 million) to keep a Picasso painting that was looted by the Nazis, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

Art collector Marilynn Alsdorf, 80, agreed to pay the money to Thomas Bennigson, the grandson of a Jewish woman in Berlin who bought the painting with her husband in the 1920s before the Nazis came to power.

In November 1938, the widowed Carlota Landsberg fled Nazi Germany and sent the painting to a Paris art dealer whose home was looted by the Nazis after they occupied France in 1940, the Tribune said.

Alsdorf and Bennigson had been locked in a court battle since 2002. Alsdorf maintains she had purchased the painting - 'Femme en blanc' - legally in 1975 for the sum of USD 357,000 (EUR 287,000).

Bennigson's attorney indicated Alsdorf had no legal claim to the painting, forcing her to settle the 10-million-dollar lawsuit his client had filed.

An attorney for Alsdorf said she had personal reasons for settling the dispute, including her advancing age and the need to resolve all financial claims so she could plan her commitments to family and charitable organizations.

When the art collector attempted to sell the painting to a prospective buyer in France, it was revealed that 'Femme en blanc' was included in a registry of lost and stolen art.
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