Federal judge dismisses lawsuit against Met over Picasso sold to escape Nazis


(JTA) — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which sought the return of a painting by Picasso to the family of a German-Jewish businessman.

The family of Paul Leffmann did not adequately show that the businessman sold the Picasso masterpiece “The Actor” under duress, which would have mandated its return to the family, Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Laurel Zuckerman, Leffmann’s great-grandniece, is the executor of the estate of Leffmann’s wife, Alice. She sued for more than $100 million in damages for the painting “The Actor.”

The Leffmanns fled Nazi Germany for Italy in 1937. In 1938, Paul Leffmann sold “The Actor” to two art dealers for $12,000 in order to escape to Switzerland.

“The Actor” was donated to the Met in 1952. The museum acknowledged the prior ownership of the Leffmann family in 2011.