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8th January, 2019

Herzog heirs lose case in US court



The heirs of a noted Jewish art collector may not sue the Hungarian state in US courts in order to obtain artworks worth millions of dollars, as the US Supreme Court declined to take up their case on Monday.

The collection of Baron Lipót Mór Herzog who died in 1934 comprised about 2,500 pieces and was inherited by his three children following his wife’s death in 1940.

As a result of World War II and the persecution of Jews the collection was scattered and following the Nazi occupation a number of pieces were seized by the Hungarian state. Some of those were transferred to Hungarian museums.

The heirs have been claiming ownership of more than 40 paintings held by the state.

The government agreed in 1997 to return some pieces to the heirs living in America, in exchange for a few returned to Hungary, but no transfer took place.

The Herzog collection contains works by El Greco, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Zurbarán, Van Dyck, Velázquez, Renoir, Monet and others, as well as furniture and sculptures.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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