Ginette Heilbronn Moulin’s grandson admits that his family’s pursuit of their Nazi-confiscated Monet was encouraged by the recent spate of news about the Wildenstein family’s weakness. Today’s story in the New York Times, which mostly just recaps the saga of another important French family searching for their lost property, really doesn’t have any news to it. The paper is just stirring the pot for the rest us to enjoy the billowing aroma:
“This painting represents some of the history of our family,” she said. “It was my grandson who pushed me to react. He doesn’t understand how this could happen.”
Ms. Moulin said that in the 1950s, her mother, Paulette Heilbronn, met with an art dealer who had a photograph of the painting, and that he pledged to recover it. But when Ms. Heilbronn approached the dealer again, he told her it was in the possession of people who were “untouchable,” Ms. Moulin said
Years later the family discovered references to the missing painting in the 1979 and the 1996 editions of Daniel Wildenstein’s five-volume inventory, or catalogue raisonné, of Monet’s work. Such catalogs list all known authenticated works by an artist and serve as something of an imprimatur. No major auction house, for example, will sell a work as a Monet unless it is listed in the Wildenstein inventory.
The catalogs’ mention of the missing Monet fueled suspicions in Ms. Moulin’s family that the Wildensteins either had the painting or knew where it was, she said. But the Wildensteins repeatedly stymied her family’s inquiries, she added.
Prominent French Families Battle Over Missing Monet (New York Times)