A descendant of the owner of a famous Vincent Van Gogh painting says Yale University should have known the painting was stolen when it acquired it, but instead “engaged in a policy of wilful ignorance” that amounted to “art laundering.”
The Ivy League university sued in March to assert its ownership rights over “The Night Cafe.”
Pierre Konowaloff of France is the purported great-grandson of industrialist and aristocrat Ivan Morozov, who bought the painting in 1908. Russia nationalized Morozov’s property during the Communist revolution.
Yale received the painting through a bequest.
Konowaloff’s lawyers say Russian authorities unlawfully confiscated the painting and he wants it back.
Yale says the Russian nationalization of property did not violate international law.
– The Canadian Press