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  • The Dispute over the Ownership of the Slav Epic was Adjourned until April 2020

    09. 01. 2020

    This January, the Prague 1 District Court ruled again in a long-standing dispute over the paintings of the Slav Epic. The core of the matter is to determine the ownership of the monumental canvases created by Alfons Mucha and commissioned by his US patron Charles Crane. Crane, as an admirer of Slavic culture, ordered the paintings, paid for them and then donated them to the capital city of Prague. The District Court first reviewed Mucha's claim as early as January 2017. At that time, the court dismissed it and subsequently the court of appeal upheld the decision. However, the Supreme Court vacated both judgments and the case is back at the first instance.

    At the hearing on January 8, 2020, the Judge of the District Court for Prague 1, JUDr. Martina Tvrdková, concluded that the capital city of Prague must prove in the dispute over the ownership of the Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha that it had acquired its title by prescription; the hearing was adjourned until April 2020. JUDr. Roman Felix the attorney for Prague, stated that the city of Prague invoked title by prescription already in 2016, when John Mucha, the step grandson of the painter, filed the lawsuit. “It's not a surprising decision for us. We will prove that the ownership was acquired by prescription already under the General Civil Code.”, Dr. Felix stressed. The law, originally adopted in 1811, was in force in Czechoslovakia until 1950. "Our legal opinion has not changed. Until now this particular legal assertion has not been accepted by the court, so there was no evidence submitted to that effect.", Roman Felix told reporters. As regards the much-discussed question of suitable exhibition space, he stated that this aspect is not important for the issue of title by prescription. "This is a completely different problem, this question is purely of a legal nature and has nothing to do with this actual condition.", he added.

    The paintings are now in the depository of the Prague City Gallery (GHM).

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