Holocaust survivor can sue Spanish museum over Pissarro painting

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An elderly Holocaust survivor from San Diego, California can continue his legal battle against a Spanish museum to reclaim a valuable painting he says was taken from his grandmother by the Nazis, a US federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

The ninth US circuit court of appeals ruled that 88-year-old Claude Cassirer's case against the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum in Madrid and the Spanish government can go forward.

Cassirer claimed his grandmother was forced to sell the 1897 painting by French impressionist Camille Pissarro for what was then $360 (£217) to get a visa to escape from Nazi Germany in 1939. He filed suit in California's central district in Los Angeles in 2005, and the defendants appealed in June 2006.

The painting, Rue St-Honore, Apres-Midi, Effet de Pluie, depicts a Parisian boulevard lined with dark carriages, a few bare trees and a scattering of people braving the weather. Its value is estimated at $20m.

The painting apparently changed hands several times after the second world war, and its whereabouts were a mystery to the Cassirer family until a friend spotted it in the Madrid museum in 2000...

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