Last year, Ginette Heilbronn Moulin, the 85-year-old chairwoman of the Galeries Lafayette department stores, filed a criminal complaint against members of the Wildenstein family that accuses them of knowing the whereabouts of an 1889 Monet study, Torrent de la Creuse, that was stolen by the Nazis and thought to have been lost completely after the war. Today, The New York Times offers a few gory details.
The Wildensteins are currently accused of hording some 30 works thought to be missing or stolen, among other charges, and Ms. Moulin believes that her painting may be among them, or that the family may at least have some inkling as to where it may be.
From the story in The Times:
The Wildensteins, who have been selling art for five generations, have steadfastly denied any knowledge of the painting’s whereabouts. But one of the family’s leaders, Daniel Wildenstein, an Impressionist scholar who died in 2001, listed the painting in two widely embraced inventories of Monet’s work that he wrote. In both instances he listed the painting as being in a private collection, including a 1996 reference to an owner in the United States.
A similar work is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, though spokesman Harold Holzer told The Times, “There’s no question that this is not the canvas.”