NORMAN, Okla., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Descendants of a French art collector whose collection was stolen by the Nazis is suing Oklahoma University, saying it has one of their family's paintings.
Leone Meyer, daughter of Raoul Meyer, a respected Jewish businessman in France in the 1940s, said "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep," a painting by Camille Pissarro, belongs to her family. A lawsuit filed against the school alleges the elder Meyer hid the painting inside a French bank but the Nazis found and stole it.
From there, the suit says it was sold to an art dealer in Holland who in turn passed it to a New York City gallery where it was purchased in the 1950s by philanthropist and OU patron Fred Jones Jr.
Jones funded construction of the school's art gallery, which in turn bears his name. The Pissarro, on permanent loan from the Jones family to the school, is considered the crown jewel of the permanent collection, said Emily Neff, the museum's director.
Contacted by KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City, the university said it does not comment on ongoing litigation.
"While the university doesn't comment on the particulars of any case, it is important to note that allegations in a lawsuit are just that; the litigation process is designed to test those allegations and uncover all the facts," the school said in a statement.