French court upholds decision for return of stolen Pissarro

PARIS (AP) — A French court has upheld a decision to restore a Camille Pissarro painting to the descendants of a Jewish family that owned the art work before it was seized during World War II.

“The Picking of Peas”, painted in 1887 had been robbed in 1943, only to reappear in Paris in February 2017. A wealthy American couple claimed to own it. But several courts ruled that the work belonged to the descendants of Simon Bauer and ordered its restitution.

On Wednesday, the Court of Cassation issued a final and definitive ruling.

The American couple, prominent Philadelphia collectors Bruce and Robbi Toll, loaned Pissarro’s “La Cueillette des Pois” (“Picking Peas”) to a Paris museum for an exhibition in 2017. But the painting from the impressionist master was placed in temporary escrow after one of the heirs of the Jewish family recognized it and sued to get it back.

The Tolls, who are also Jewish, said they did not know when they bought the Pissarro that it had been stolen by France’s war-era Vichy regime from Jewish collector Simon Bauer.

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