Art Law Report

Baltimore Museum of Art Wins Title to “Flea Market Renoir” Painting

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 10, 2014 at 7:18 AM

The Baltimore Sun reports that U.S. District Judge Judge Leonie Brinkema allowed the Baltimore Museum of Art’s motion for summary judgment at today’s hearing in Alexandria, Virginia. That means that the BMA is the owner of the painting, not claimant Martha Fuqua, who argued that she bought the painting at a 2009 flea market in good faith. Barring an appeal (or perhaps even with one), the painting will soon return to Baltimore from where it was stolen in 1951.

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Topics: hearsay, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Potomack Company, flea market Renoir, ancient documents, Der Spiegel, Martha Fuqua, Baltimore Museum of Art, Litigation, business records exception, summary judgment, Museums, Leonie Brinkema, Paysage Bords de Seine, FRCP 56

Hearing Tomorrow on Baltimore Museum of Art Claims to "Flea Market Renoir"

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Judge Leonie Brinkema will hold a hearing tomorrow morning in Alexandria, Virginia on the Baltimore Museum of Art's motion for summary judgment to claim ownership to an 1879 Renoir painting Paysage Bords de Seine that the museum maintains was stolen in 1951. Claimant Martha Fuqua filed a motion to strike the BMA's reply to her opposition, arguing that the museum was introducing new evidence. The court swiftly denied the motion, and noted that the museum was responding to arguments she made for the first time in her opposition to the summary judgment motion (but gave her permission to file a sur-reply).

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Topics: hearsay, authentication, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Potomack Company, flea market Renoir, ancient documents, Der Spiegel, Martha Fuqua, Baltimore Museum of Art, Litigation, business records exception, summary judgment, Museums, Paysage Bords de Seine, FRCP 56

Flea Market Renoir Battle Focuses on the Hearsay Rule

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 3, 2014 at 7:14 AM

The last remaining claimants for the 1879 painting by Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paysage bords de Seine that surfaced in the possession of a woman who claimed to have found it at a flea market, have filed summary judgment papers seeking final disposition of the case without need of a trial. The Baltimore Museum of Art has made its case that the painting was stolen from the museum in 1951, while Martha Fuqua alleges that she purchased it in good faith at a Virginia flea market in 2009 before attempting to sell it at the Potomack Company. The U.S. government seized the painting from the auction house and filed an interpleader action to determine the true owner; the other principle claimant (Fireman’s Fund Insurance) dropped out of the case last fall without explanation, apparently pursuant to an assignment. Heirs of the original donor to the BMA never responded or made claim to the painting. The case will now turn at summary judgment on the hearsay rule, a topic that have bedeviled generations of law students and lawyers.

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Topics: hearsay, authentication, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Potomack Company, flea market Renoir, ancient documents, Gurlitt, Martha Fuqua, Baltimore Museum of Art, Litigation, business records exception, summary judgment, Museums, Paysage Bords de Seine, FRCP 56

“Flea Market Renoir” Possibly Taken from Baltimore Museum Heads to Court

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 8, 2013 at 6:03 AM

The 1879 Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting entitled “Paysage Bords de Seine” that was discovered at a Virgina flea market, but which may also have been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art more than sixty years ago, is now the subject of a federal court case in Alexandria, Virginia. The United States has seized the painting and filed an action, known as "interpleader," to sort out the proper ownership of the work.

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Topics: Sadie A. May, Fireman’s Fund Insurance, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, interpleader, Seine, Amalie Adler Ascher, Rule 22 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Virginia, Herbert L. May, Manassas, Baltimore Museum of Art, 28 U.S.C. § 1335, Doreen Bulger, Adams Davidson Galle, The Potomack Company, Washington Post, Museums, Marcia “Martha” Fuqua, Paysage Bords de Seine, Civil Forfeiture, Ted Cooper

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