After Swiss prosecutors seized a Modigliani painting from storage that the art dealing family the Nahmads denied they owned, Doreen Carvajal reports in the New York Times that dealer David Nahmad has now admitted he is the current owner of the painting, Seated Man with a Cane, but claims that it is not the same work that once belonged to the prewar Jewish art dealer Oscar Stettiner and should not be subject to his heir Philippe Maestracci’s restitution claim.
The Geneva papers say local prosecutors entered the storage facility to determine the location of the disputed Modigliani. At present, no one is saying whether the authorities seized the work or even located it:
The Geneva public prosecutor wasted no time. Two days after opening unsolicited inquiries for “to audit” in relation to the revelations of Panama papers, prosecutors went to action. The prosecutor Claudio Mascotto conducted Friday morning a search on the site francs Ports Geneva, in the premises of the works of art storage company Rodolphe Haller.
According to our information, the prosecution is interested in a painting by Modigliani, The man sitting leaning on a cane. A painting valued at $ 25 million, including Panama papers have revealed the true owner, art collector David Nahmad. When contacted, the Public Ministry has not wished to make any comment.
This morning Bloomberg confirmed with the prosecutors that the painting had been confiscated:
As part of the case, investigators on Friday searched facilities at the Geneva Free Ports, and confiscated the painting, “Seated Man with a Cane,” the Geneva Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement Monday.
Retired New York attorney David Toren—blind and almost 90—whose entire family was killed by the Nazis, has petitioned German auction house Villa Grisebach to reveal the identities of the buyers of two paintings that were looted from his great uncle’s home around 1940, the New York Daily News reports.
Toren’s great uncle, industrialist David Friedmann, had 54 pieces of museum quality art in his Breslau mansion, all of which were seized by the Nazis in 1940. Toren, who escaped as a child on the Kindertransport in 1939, recently discovered that three works from his family’s collection were in the trove of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hitler’s art dealer, Hildebrand Gurlitt. Two of the works discovered in the Gurlitt trove were by Max Liebermann, and the third by Franz Skarbina.