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Boren: O.U. Seeks Fair solution

“Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep,” by Camille Pissarro
“Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep,” by Camille Pissarro

To the Editor of The Tulsa World:

Recently the Tulsa World published an Opinion piece about a Pissarro painting, which left out some important facts. [Note: CapitolBeatOK reposted the opinion piece, with permission.

There are two sides to the story.  Mr. Meyer, who possessed the painting before the war, tragically lost it to the Nazis who stole it. The plaintiff in this case was adopted by Mr. Meyer after the war.

Mr. Meyer had opportunities after the war to recover the painting and chose not to do so.  Swiss Courts later ruled that the Meyer family no longer had title because of their inaction.  Several years later, a prominent Jewish family from Oklahoma, the Weitzenhoffers, purchased the painting in good faith from a reputable art dealer. Later the Weitzenhoffers generously gave the painting to the OU Foundation which has made it possible for the public to view it at no cost.

Both of these families, the Meyers and the Weitzenhoffers, suffered and lost family members and properties because of the Holocaust.  Both families deserve to be recognized.

Unfortunately OU’s effort to be fair to all of those involved by offering to negotiate a settlement has to date been rebuffed by the plaintiff.

The case is now in the federal courts in Oklahoma City.  Let us hope that a negotiated settlement will result so that proper credit can be given to the Meyers and the Weitzenhoffers and also be fair to the public.

OU will continue to seek a fair and moral solution.


David Boren, president, The University of Oklahoma

David Boren
David Boren

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