THE ART NEWSPAPER – The J. Paul Getty Trust and Museum filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the Central District of California to quiet title to a 14th century diptych valued at $2.7 million, which the Getty purchased in 1986 from the Wildenstein gallery in New York, who in turn acquired it from the French aristocratic Sabran-Pontevés family. Géraud Marie de Sabran-Pontevés, one of the four children of the late Duke of Sabran-Pontevés, recently claimed title to the painting alleging that his brother sold the work without the other siblings’ consent after his father’s death in 1981. On this same basis, he successfully secured a judgment against his brother in French court.
[ARIS Commentary: The Sabran-Pontevés-Getty case illustrates the inherent opaqueness and uncertainty in the international art market because ownership disputes often arise decades after sales transactions, irrespective of substantial assurances of clear legal title offered by the seller or the buyer’s considerable due diligence, and downstream, good faith buyers are frequently the target of title disputes when investors or family members disagree years later over the distribution of jointly held property.] Access Full Text