Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 4 weeks ago

Do I have any right to ownership of a famous painting of my ancestor?

I have recently discovered a beautiful portrait of my great-grandmother from 1915 is hanging in a museum in Russia. I would love to own this portrait (but still allow it to stay in the museum) so that nothing will ever happen to it. Since the portrait was owned by my family, do I have any legal rights to buy it back? I know the laws are probably different in Russia but what would it be in the USA?

24 Answers

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  • 4 weeks ago

    You have no rights unless it has been left to you in a will.

  • depends.....was it hitler in the painting? 

  • 4 weeks ago

    Only if you could prove that the painting was stolen from the family, and then, because it resides in a foreign country, you would need the help of the US State Department along with your expensive lawyers.

  • Foofa
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Chances are great this was commandeered by the Soviets and made property of "the people". But modern Russia has been selling things back to the decedents of those the Bolsheviks stole them from so long ago. Might not work with a painting but many of the old palaces have been returned to familial ownership if only to relieve Russia from having to pay to maintain them. You can always hire an international expert on this and make a formal request to Moscow.

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  • 4 weeks ago

    In the United States if you could prove that it was a picture of one of your relatives and purchased by them you could possibly Sue in a court of law but thing that you're going to run into is that the person that currently owns the picture is going to say oh that was painted by such-and-such artist and your family never actually owned the picture.

    • Lili
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      You cannot sue a museum for return of a painting if it was legally sold or donated by a previous owner. It doesn't matter if the subject is one of your relatives.  

  • 4 weeks ago

    Not unless it was left to you in a family trust.

  • 4 weeks ago

    No, you do not have any legal right to buy it back. In either country.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Unless the painting was stolen from your family, you have ZERO legal claim unless you can' convince the legal owner to sell it to you.

    That said if you agree to place the item on permanent loan to the museum, they will likely be willing to let you pay them to say you own it.

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    It sounds to me like you think the museum should hand it over to it. Life doesn't work like that except in the movies. The portrait has an owner who legally owns it. If you want it you need to make an offer to buy it & I imagine it would cost a pretty penny. You can try contacting the owner and make a deal but do not expect them to just hand over the portrait.

    My husband discovered a family piano that has been in his family since the 1800s & of course we wanted it. We finally tracked it down and a distant cousin owned it. We had to pay a lot but it is now back in the proper family line again. I was young and stupid at the time 20+yrs ago so I couldn't believe we had to pay for it but that's how things work.

  • Bruce
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Unless it was specifically left to you in a will, you have no right of ownership. 

    • Morningfox
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      Even if it was given in a will, the dead person can give only what he/she owned. If she didn't own the painting, she can't give it.

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