• gerard van weyenbergh

Old story showing the shady side of art business.

After the death of Bonnard, without descendants, in 1947, his heirs engage in a legal battle to get their hands on the painter's inheritance. For, while Bonnard's wife, Martha, had always assured him that he had no family, the opening of his estate revealed the existence of four nieces. Should we expect something else from the one whose painter learned true identity on the day of his marriage?

Years of trial will follow, involving a false declaration of succession drafted by the painter at the initiative of his notary shortly after the death of Martha. This is to avoid losing the works of his studio.

Then comes an unexpected character art dealer Daniel Wildenstein scents the bargain. While the Terrace, heirs on the side of Bonnard, lost in the first instance, he bought their rights for $ 1 million and took over the dispute. And it will be the coup de theater. By arguing the painter's moral rights over his work, the merchant wins the game and finds himself the owner of all the paintings in the studio, except 25 paintings. If he donates several works to the family, 180 paintings, "the most beautiful, the most beautiful," as the merchant says in his book, have since gone into the obscure trustees of the Wildenstein family. Not sure that they give rise, one day, to a donation Wildenstein in favor of Cannet.

Le Journal des arts, Vazzoler