Prominent New York Art Dealer Accused of Harbouring Art Looted By Nazis

Business Insider 11 July 2011
By Liz Weiss

French investigators have just charged a New York-based art dealer with "possession of stolen goods" and "breach of trust" in connection with 30 pieces of art that had been missing for decades and were rediscovered last year, according to ArtInfo (via The New York Times).

Authorities formally filed charges last week against the Impressionist dealer, Guy Wildenstein, whose vault at the Wildenstein Institute in Paris was reportedly holding the missing trove.

The extensive art collection included a $1.1 million Berthe Morisot Impressionist painting called "Cottage in Normandy" and rare Degas sketches. Many of the pieces were originally reported by Jewish families whose property had been looted by the Nazis, according to NYT.

Wildenstein underwent questioning by French authorities in April, at which time he reportedly said that the pieces at issue must have been "oversight or error" by his late father. 

This is not the first time billionaire art dealer Guy Wildenstein has run into trouble with the law.

According to ArtInfo, he's been wrapped up in a long-term suit by his late step-mother, Sylvia Roth, who accused him of hiding his real estate inheritance to cheat his way out of paying taxes and deny her from receiving her proper inheritance.

Wildenstein and Company, established in Paris in 1875, is currently one of the world's leading art dealerships globally, with offices located in London, Tokyo, and New York.
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