A judge has ordered that a famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh will remain at Yale rather than given to a man who claims he should be the rightful owner because the artwork was stolen from his family.
Pierre Konowaloff says his great-grandfather bought the work in 1908, but it was stolen during the Russian revolution. It was later sold by the Soviet government and has been on display at Yale University for the last fifty years. According to Yale–who sued in 2009 in an attempt to keep Konowaloff from claiming the work–allowing someone to take ownership of the painting in such a manner would be detrimental to the state of millions of dollars worth of art in other parts of the world.
“We’re pleased that the court has dismissed Konowaloff’s claims,” said Jonathan Freiman, attorney for Yale. “The Night Cafe is a timeless masterpiece that the public can see free of charge, and in this suit Yale has worked to make sure it stays that way.”
The Night Cafe is valued between $120 million and $150 million and was a bequest to the university from alumnus Stephen Carlton Clark, who purchased it from a New York City gallery in the early ’30s.
The case isn’t the first one involving a stolen painting claim and a university; earlier this year, the University of Oklahoma found themselves at the center of a dispute over a work by Camille Pissarro titled Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep when Holocaust survivor
Leone Meyer claimed the work belonged to her family, but it had been taken by the Nazis.
Image via Wikimedia Commons