Philadelphia Museum of Art faces ownership challenge over classic work of modernism
A visitor to the Philadelphia Museum of Art walks past the "Composition with Blue" by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian on Sunday. - Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

PHILADELPHIA — A masterpiece of modernist art that has been in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for almost 70 years has been characterized as “Nazi-looted art” by representatives of the artist’s heirs who plan to challenge museum ownership in court, although the artist never objected during his lifetime. The painting, "Composition with Blue," a 1926 work by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, was purchased in 1939 by famed collector A.E. Gallatin, who acquired it from the Buchholz Gallery in New York, a sales outlet favored by the Nazis. Gallatin displayed the work — with Mondrian’s as...