Ambroise Vollard is back at the center of the art world these days. More precisely: his heirs. Because they have now prevailed over the Musée d'Orsay, the famous Paris museum must return four masterpieces by Renoir, Cézanne, and Gauguin to the heirs of Ambroise Vollard, following an order by the Paris Administrative Court.
Vollard, the well-known dealer of Post-Impressionist and modern art who was personally acquainted with artists such as Picasso, Renoir, and Cézanne, died in a traffic accident in 1939. He was 73 years old at the time. He left more than 6000 works to his brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, some of these works fell into the hands of the Nazis and German dealers. And through this route, eventually into the Musée d'Orsay.
In 2013, some heirs demanded the return of seven works because they had been stolen. The French state had initially rejected this just because the circumstances of the sale had not been sufficiently clarified. However, in May 2022, another court ruled that it was indeed theft. The Supreme Court confirmed this ruling in November 2022. The Paris Administrative Court has also agreed - to complete the final, formal step in the process.
There is no other way to put it: it was a very long process until the heirs got their rights. However, there are still other demands: the heirs are also demanding the return of three different paintings, one showing a bouquet of roses and another leading a group of bathers, both by Renoir, as well as the painting of a head of an older man, which is by Cézanne.