OU, French family amend agreement on stolen Nazi artwork

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A French woman and the University of Oklahoma have amended an agreement regarding a piece of art that was stolen by the Nazis.

74-year-old Leone Meyer has government documentation confirming Nazis stole an 1886 Camille Pissarro oil painting from her family during WWII.

Meyer’s family hid in order to avoid concentration camps, but Germans stole all their belongings, included the precious Camille Pissarro painting, Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep.

After the war, the painting went to a dealer in the Netherlands before being sold to Clara Weitzenhoffer in New York.

In 2000, the Weitzenhoffers donated their entire collection to OU’s campus museum, including the Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep.

Classic piece of art allegedly stolen by Nazis.
Classic piece of art allegedly stolen by Nazis.

For more than two years, the family and the university fought over the rightful owner the painting before reaching an agreement in 2016.

The university and the Meyer family agreed to share the painting, allowing it be displayed at a museum in France for five years before rotating, and being sent back to OU.

On Tuesday, Leone Meyer and the University of Oklahoma released a joint statement regarding an amended agreement.

“Ms. Meyer and the University of Oklahoma and OU Foundation have restated and affirmed their original 2016 Settlement Agreement with a mutually agreed upon modification in order to achieve its goals. Ms. Meyer has transferred title, interests, and all standing in connection with the Pissarro painting to the OU Foundation. In turn, the OU Parties have committed to identifying and transferring ownership to a French public institution or the U.S. Art in Embassies program, subject to the parties’ original rotating three-year public display agreement. The OU Parties do not intend for the OU Foundation to retain title to the Painting long-term. The Pissarro painting remains on public display at the Musée d’Orsay, accompanied by a plaque setting forth its provenance, acknowledging the Meyer family’s history, as well as the Weitzenhoffer Family’s and the OU Parties’ good faith. The painting will return to Oklahoma this summer where it will go on public display, also accompanied by the provenance plaque, for three years at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at OU, after which it will return to France for its rotating three-year public display at a French institution identified by the OU Parties.”

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