Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No Standing

Last month Callen Bair wondered about certain "art world dramas that play out in the public eye before everyone loses interest," mentioning as an example: "What about Andrew Lloyd Webber's Picasso?" Today we have an answer: "A New York state court Monday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the alleged owner of a Pablo Picasso painting who claimed his great-uncle was forced by the Nazis to sell the artwork." The case was decided on narrow standing grounds -- "Notwithstanding the very significant issues raised by this litigation, this Court is constrained to dismiss it because plaintiff does not have standing to bring this action without being appointed a personal representative of the estate" -- and may not be the end of the story: "to pursue this matter, plaintiff will have to convince the Surrogate's Court that he qualifies to be appointed the personal representative of Paul von Mendelssohn-Barthody's United States estate consisting of the painting."

The decision is here. As I mentioned at the time the suit was filed, even if he gets past the standing hurdle, the plaintiff still has an uphill climb.