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The judge sides with the DIA; Van Gogh painting cannot be seized

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Detroit – A Detroit federal judge on Friday rejected a lawsuit to seize an allegedly stolen Vincent van Gogh painting from the Detroit Institute of Arts and give the artwork to its alleged owner in Brazil.

US District Judge George Caram Steeh ruled that the DIA did not need to deliver “Liseuse De Romans,” also known as “The Novel Reader” or “The Reading Lady,” which is temporarily on display at an exhibition that ends on Sunday. . The judge ruled that the artwork is protected under a federal law that grants immunity to foreign artwork on display in the United States.

DIA’s lawyers argued that the artwork could not be touched because it is protected by a federal law called the Immunity from Seizure Act, which grants immunity to foreign artwork on display in the United States.

“The painting is immune from seizure under the law, which prohibits the court from issuing an injunction or entering any other order depriving the defendant of custody or control of the painting,” Steeh wrote in an 11-page decision. “Since the court is unable to grant the final relief sought by the plaintiff, the suit will be dismissed.”

Visitors parade past Van Gogh's painting

The purported owner, Brazilian art collector Gustavo Soter and his art brokerage, Brokerarte Capital Partners LLC, said the painting was stolen and missing for nearly six years until it was recently discovered on display at DIA as part of the “Van Gogh in America” ​​exhibition.

Steeh had ordered nine days earlier that the painting not be removed or hidden, and the DIA had posted a security guard near the Van Gogh artwork in recent days.