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Friday, 6 July, 2001, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Dealer guilty of handling Nazi art
Ernest and Marietta Glanville with The Three Stages of Life by Count Leopold von Kalckreuth
An 1898 looted work reunited with its rightful owners in 2000
A British art dealer has been found guilty by a French court of handling a Nazi-looted painting.

Adam Williams, 49, who is currently in the United States, was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence.


It will be a precedent that will apply to museums and galleries

Pierre-Francois Veil, lawyer
The court in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre heard that Williams bought the painting, Portrait of Pastor Adrianus Tegularius by Frans Hals, from the London auction house Christie's for 1.2m francs (110,000) in 1989.

Williams denied knowing that the painting had been stolen.

The court ordered that the 17th Century painting be returned to its rightful inheritors, the Adolphe Schloss collection.

It was seized during a Paris exhibition in 1990 when Schloss's descendants recognised the work and brought an action against the dealer, a buyer for the prestigious Newhouse Galleries.

'Important'

The decision was welcomed by Pierre-Francois Veil, a lawyer acting for the Schloss estate.

"It's important in so far as it shows that art professionals can no longer claim that they are holding in good faith artworks stolen during the war, which are well known and catalogued," he said.

"Today the judgement is against a private dealer, but tomorrow it will be a precedent that will apply to museums and galleries."

Williams's lawyer, Michael Brooke, said that his client was considering an appeal.

See also:

18 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Family compensated for Tate's Nazi art
08 Dec 00 | Americas
Canada probes Nazi loot
30 Oct 00 | Scotland
Burrell review over looting fears
29 Feb 00 | Scotland
Scottish galleries on 'looted' list
17 Feb 00 | UK
Hope for Nazi loot victims
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