Provenance of Cézanne piece questioned

A Paul Cézanne painting in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, valued at as much as $100 million, is alleged to have been stolen from its original owner in 1918 during the Russian Revolution, according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.

The suit centers on the provenance of Cézanne’s 1891 work “Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory,” which was bequeathed to the museum in 1960 by an art collector.

Pierre Konowaloff, who says he is the great-grandson of the original owner, says he is the rightful owner of the painting, according to the lawsuit. The suit seeks recovery of the painting, as well as “monetary damages in connection with wrongful acquisition, possession, display and retention of the Painting,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Met said in a statement that it believes it has good title to the painting and that it intends to defend the lawsuit vigorously.

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