There’s a battle brewing over a world-renowned painting. The fight is between Yale University and a French citizen.
Pierre Konowaloff has sued the Ivy League school, claiming he is the rightful owner to VanGogh’s painting, “The Night Café.” While Yale says it owns the painting.
In a counterclaim filed in district court, Konowaloff is asking to be declared the rightful owner of the painting and to have a jury trial, The New Haven Register reports.
So, how did this VanGogh painting end up in New Haven? It’s taken quite a journey that dates back to the Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
Konowaloff's great-grandfather, Ivan Morozov, a Russian industrialist and aristocrat, saw his textile factories, real estate and art collection taken by the government and sold in the 1920s to raise foreign currency. Konowaloff's counterclaim says that the painting was stolen by the Soviet government.
"The Night Cafe" eventually landed in galleries in Berlin and then New York, where Stephen Carlton Clark bought it in the 1930s.
Clark was a Yale graduate and art collector. He died in 1960, bequeathing 40 paintings to Yale in his will.
The painting now hangs in the Yale University Art Gallery. The school wants to remove any cloud over its ownership.