Collector's Heirs Seeking Return of van Gogh Drawing from the Swiss Confederation and the Museum Oskar Reinhart am Stadtgarten
The heirs of Margarethe Mautner, an early collector of works by Vincent van Gogh, have filed suit in Federal Court in New York to recover a major ink drawing by the master from a government-owned museum in Winterthur, Switzerland . View of Saintes-Maries with Church and Ramparts (Arles, June 1888) was part of the important bequest of Oskar Reinhart, whose art collections formed not one, but two museums −his Villa Am Römerholz and Museum Oskar Reinhart am Stadtgarten.
Mrs. Mautner was a German, born in 1863. She not only collected van Gogh's works but also published articles about his art. In 1933, to finance escapes to South Africa of her immediate family, Mrs. Mautner entered into negotiations through a German dealer to sell the drawing to Oskar Reinhart. The correspondence survives and the parties dispute the heirs' contention that, in paying much less than she asked, Reinhart took advantage of a German Jewish collector in distress.
In April 2006, a request for restitution was sent on behalf of the heirs of Margarethe Mautner to the museum and the Swiss Government by the New York State Banking Holocaust Claims Processing Office. After receiving a refusal from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture in December 2006, Andrew Orkin and several other heirs brought their claim to court. We provide links to their complaint and to the defendants' response was filed in May 2010.
Vincent van Gogh, View of Saintes-Maries with Church and Ramparts
Sought by the Heirs of Margarethe MautnerClaimed