25 March 2009
NEW HAVEN (CONN.) -- Yale University has filed a lawsuit against Pierre Konowaloff who is seeking ownership of the university museum's Van Gogh painting The Night Café. Mr. Konowaloff claims to be a descendent of Ivan Morozov, a previous owner of the painting, and maintains that he has rights to the art work because it was illegally seized by the Soviet government in December, 1918 when Vladimir Lenin nationalized most private property.
Yale University, which acquired the painting in 1961 from Stephen C. Clark dismissed Mr. Konowaloff claim. Yale maintains that the Van Gogh painting was attained legally and that, even if Mr. Konowaloff's accusations of Soviet wrongdoing is correct, the statute of limitations has long since expired.