Jori Finkel has an excellent story in the Los Angeles Times telling the convoluted tail of a Bernardo Strozzi painting that is trapped in legal limbo in Italy. It all begins with Charles Loeser, a contemporary of Bernard Berenson, who left much important art to the city of Florence. In exchange he was granted the right to export works down a generation. Unfortunately, some of his works were looted by the Nazis.
Philippa Calnan, the Beverly Hills resident who says she is now Loeser’s sole heir, says Sotheby’s Milan office contacted her in 2009 to let her know that an individual had offered the painting, which they had identified as the looted Strozzi, for one of their upcoming auctions. […] Shortly after speaking to Sotheby’s, she says she received a call from art-loss specialists with the Carabinieri, or Italian state police, inviting her to look at the painting in a back room at the auction house. […] She says she was given permission by the Carabinieri to remove the painting, by one estimate worth approximately $700,000. Within a matter of weeks, she placed it in storage in Milan in her name. “I thought I would then be able to export it to Los Angeles.”
Italy denies U.S. export license to Baroque painting looted by Nazis (Los Angeles Times)