(Bloomberg) -- The National Gallery in London was sued in the U.S. by three cousins who claim the museum wrongfully acquired a portrait of their German grandmother by the famed French artist Henri Matisse decades after it was lost in the aftermath of World War II.

Greta Moll, the subject of the 1908 work, entrusted the painting to an art student of her husband to be moved to Switzerland for safekeeping after Germany fell to the Allies, according to a suit filed by three of her grandchildren on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan. Moll, who lost her home and belongings in the war, had sought to protect the painting from being looted or destroyed by allied troops, but the painting was illegally sold instead, they claim.

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