Significant Restitutions

2006 – Turner from the Kimbell Art Museum returned to the Jaffé’s heirs

Jewish art collectors Anna and John Jeffé bought Turner’s Glaucus and Scylla in 1902 and owned it until 1943, when the pro-Nazi Vichy government seized it from them and sold it at an auction of “Jewish property.” It resurfaced in 1956, when Emile Leitz of Paris sold it to a London dealer. One year later, it was purchased by the Howard Young Galleries in New York and sold to a Mrs. Chamberlain, who owned it until 1966, when the Newhouse Gallery, also from New York, came in its possession and sold it to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. It was among the first works of art bought by Richard Brown, the museum’s director, and at the time its provenance information had no references to Nazi confiscation or forced sales.

Surfing the web, Alain Monteagle, a French high school history teacher and one of 13 heirs searching for the family’s stolen property, learned that a Turner seascape named Glaucus and Scylla was one of the highlights of the Kimbell Art Museum. In September 2005, Mr. Monteagle contacted the museum asking for the Turner to be returned to his family. After several months of discussions between the Kimbell and the Jaffé heirs, it was agreed that the Turner would hang in the museum until June 25, 2006 and then be returned to its legitimate owners. Turner’s painting was auctioned as part of Christie’s Old Master paintings sale in New York, on April 19, 2007, where it was re-acquired by the museum for almost $6.5 million dollars.