Elizabeth Taylor is fighting to keep a valuable Van Gogh painting she has owned for more than 40 years.
The Hollywood legend bought “View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint-Remy” at a Sotheby’s auction in London in 1963 for just £160,000 (€240,000). The work is now valued at £6m (€9m) – and Taylor faces the possibility of having to give it away for nothing.
The actress lives in opulent Pacific Palisades and takes great comfort from the expensive baubles she has picked up throughout her storied career.
But now the heirs of Holocaust survivor Margarete Mauthner, a German Jew who escaped the Nazis in 1933, say they are the rightful owners of the masterpiece. They say Mauthner was forced to sell the painting to flee Nazi Germany.
The actress this week filed a lawsuit challenging the claim and saying the heirs “have not provided a shred of evidence that the painting ever fell into Nazi hands.” Taylor says she bought the work from another German Jew, Alfred Wolf.