Boston MFA sues to bolster claim to disputed 1913 painting

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A dispute between the Museum of Fine Arts and an Austrian woman who says she is the rightful owner of a coveted 1913 oil painting escalated this week, with the MFA filing suit in federal court to retain ownership of the work.

Lawyers for Claudia Seger-Thomschitz, the Austrian woman, say there is no doubt that the painting by Oskar Kokoschka, "Two Nudes (Lovers)," was sold under duress by Oskar Reichel, a physician who ran an art gallery in Vienna during the Nazi occupation of Austria.

One of Reichel's sons designated Seger-Thomschitz as his "select niece and designated heiress," according to her lawyer, John J. Byrne Jr.

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