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February 2016

Museum Asks Federal Court to Determine Rightful Owner of Loaned Work On behalf of the Birmingham Museum of Art, the City of Birmingham, AL (the “City”) has asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division to determine the rightful owner of a loaned work of art. The Museum seeks to return “Shinnecock Hills” by William Merritt Chase to the work’s rightful owner – however, the Museum cannot do so until the court determines exactly who that party is out of the six alleged part-owners of the piece, who are also co-defendants in the action.

The work has been in possession of the Museum since August 2006 and is taking up valuable space in climate-controlled Museum storage. The complaint states that the museum has limited storage space and resources to store art and, further, that “[c]ontinued storage of the Painting is negatively impacting the ongoing operations of the Museum as the space in which the Painting currently is stored is required for other uses.” Accordingly, the City also seeks $11,000 from the defendants as compensation for storing the painting from August 2006-February 2016.