US court lets Liz Taylor keep van Gogh painting
Mon 29 Oct 2007, 15:09 GMT

[-] Text [+] By James Vicini

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court allowed actress Elizabeth Taylor to keep a Vincent van Gogh painting on Monday, rejecting an appeal by descendants of a Jewish woman who said she was forced to sell it before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939.

The justices refused to review a U.S. appeals court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit because the descendants waited too long to bring their claims demanding that Taylor return van Gogh’s “View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint-Remy.”

Van Gogh painted the work in 1889. Less than a year later, he killed himself. Taylor’s father purchased the painting on her behalf at a Sotheby’s auction in 1963 in London for 92,000 British pounds — about $257,000 at the time. The painting now is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Four South African and Canadian descendants of Margarete Mauthner, a Jewish woman who fled Germany in 1939 for South Africa, sued Taylor in 2004 in federal court in California.