Street in Tahiti (Chemin a Papeete), Paul Gaugin, 1891
Many works have a murky history during the war years. In this case Martha Nathan, the German-Jewish heiress of a substantial art collection, was forced to flee to France in 1937. She was not allowed to take her paintings because of their ‘national value’. Allegedly under duress, she subsequently was “allowed” to sell this Gauguin to a Paris art dealer, who in turn sold it to the Toledo Art Museum (Ohio) in 1939. In 2004 Nathan’s heirs brought a claim of restitution against the museum, and after several years of legal wrangling the court ruled that the museum had acquired the painting legitimately, and restitution was denied.