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A painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder fetched 9.3 million pounds ($14.3 million) at Sotheby’s in London, an auction record for the German Renaissance artist.

The sale of the Cranach and other works tallied 39.3 million pounds, toward the lower end of the presale estimate. Wednesday’s result represented a 42 percent drop from an equivalent auction a year ago, when 68.3 million pounds worth of Old Master and British paintings were sold. Of 57 lots offered, 20 failed to find buyers, while auction records were set for five artists.

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California’s District Court has emphatically denied a motion to dismiss a case about the ownership of Lucas Cranach the Elder’s life-size "Adam and Eve," around 1530.

This court ruling is the latest twist in a bitter legal battle that began in Federal Court in 2007 when Marei von Saher, the heir of Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, filed for ownership of the paintings.

They were part of a collection of more than 1,200 works owned by Goudstikker, who fled the Netherlands in 1940 after the Nazi invasion. The painting were hung outside the home of Nazi Reichsmarschall Herman Göring at one point during the war, according to von Saher’s court filings, but were returned by Allied Forces to the Netherlands in 1945.

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The US Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of Pasadena's Norton Simon Museum in the case of the ownership of Lucas Cranach the Elder's paintings "Adam" and "Eve" (both circa 1530). The artworks originally belonged to Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, who in 1940 was forced to flee the Netherlands following the Nazi invasion.

The case, which has been in federal court since 2007, was originally dismissed in the museum's favor in 2012. Goudstikker's daughter-in-law, Marei Von Saher, got a second chance last June, when a judge ruled that the pursuit of her claims did not conflict with US federal policy (see Norton Simon's Nazi-Looted Adam and Eve to Head Back to Court).

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Thursday, 30 October 2014 11:15

Restored Cranach Altar to be Unveiled in Germany

The famous Cranach Altar (1555) which is located the Weimarer Stadtkirche, Germany has finally been restored to its former glory. The altar is considered a masterpiece of German Reformation-era art and will be unveiled on October 31st; Reformation Day - in a televized church service, Die Welt reports.

The Altar is to be found in Stadtkirche, a Gothic Church which is UNESCO-listed; the altar is regarded as the premier Reformation-era piece from the studio of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553). Two years after his father's death; the altar was completed by Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515-1586).

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A bite of the apple is said to have gotten Adam and Eve thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

Now the Norton Simon Museum wants another bite at the apple as it tries to have a legal threat to one of its most prized artworks thrown out of court. At stake are Lucas Cranach the Elder’s 1530 paired paintings “Adam” and “Eve,” which have hung in the Pasadena museum since the 1970s.

The museum has asked for a rehearing of a June decision that went against it in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, when two members of a three-judge panel revived Marei Von Saher’s claim to “Adam” and “Eve” after it had been dismissed two years earlier in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

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She’s back.

Sotheby’s is offering a portrait of Roman noblewoman Lucretia, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, in a private-sales exhibition at its Bond Street, London, salesroom. If the bare-breasted lady looks familiar, she is. The circa-1509 painting was last offered at Sotheby’s in New York quite recently, in January 2012. It sold for $5.122 million, the fourth highest price ever paid for a Cranach at auction. (The record, $8.6 million, was set in 1990.)

In 2012, the painting in the “Important Old Masters Sale” was given quite the white-gloved hard sell. A video of department chairman George Wachter praised her voluptuousness and noted that museums were likely to be interested. It sold in the midrange of its $4 million to $6 million estimate (outpaced only by a Caneletto Venice scene.)  The sale sheet listed as going to a “European private” in an auction that was only 59.7 percent sold.

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The long-running legal dispute over the Norton Simon Museum's 16th century "Adam" and "Eve" paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder took a turn on Friday when a federal appeals court reversed a 2012 decision from a lower court that had dismissed plaintiff Marei Von Saher's claims on the valuable works of art.

The 9th Circuit Court ruled 2-to-1 to reverse U.S. District Judge John Walter's dismissal of Von Saher's suit. Von Saher, who currently resides in New York, will now be able to resume her claim on the paintings in district court.

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