The Guggenheim museum is facing a lawsuit from a Jewish family who say that their ancestors were taken advantage of by a renowned art dealer after he bought a painting by Pablo Picasso from them as they were escaping the Nazis in 1938.
The 1904 work by the Spanish artist, Woman Ironing (La repasseuse), was given to the Guggenheim in 1978 by the family of art dealer Justin Thannhauser who bought the painting from Karl and Rosi Adler as the couple was attempting to flee to South America. It’s now estimated to be worth between $100 million and $200 million.
According to the lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court, Thannhauser, a lifelong friend of Picasso’s, paid the Adlers $1,552 for the painting, equivalent to about $30,000 today. Thannhauser’s family gave the painting for free to the Guggenheim Foundation in 1976.
The lawsuit, filed by the Adler’s relatives, including their grandchildren, say that the couple would never have sold for that price had they not been facing…