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Judge rules against heir who wanted Met to return a Picasso

NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to force the Metropolitan Museum of Art to return a Picasso painting to the heir of a Jewish businessman who allegedly sold it under duress.

Judge Loretta Preska ruled Wednesday that the museum can keep the 1904-05 painting, "The Actor."

According to the lawsuit, businessman Paul Leffmann and his wife, Alice, fled Italy for Switzerland in 1938 and sold the painting to finance their flight.

The lawsuit alleged the sale was made under duress for $13,200, much less than the painting was worth. The painting was donated to the Met in 1952.

The judge said the Leffmanns' great-grand-niece, Laurel Zuckerman, could not show that the painting was sold under duress under New York law.

Zuckerman's attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

The Associated Press

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