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Lucas Cranach the Elder, "Adam" and "Eve"  (pair), c. 1530. Norton Simon Art Foundation

Pasadena - The Norton Simon Museum will face continued legal action over ownership of a pair of 16th-century Adam and Eve paintings. The works by Lucas Cranach the Elder were looted by the Nazis, and bear a complicated provenance that stretches to the Russian Revolution. Since the 1970s, the pair has hung in the Pasadena museum.

In a ruling in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday, Judge John Walter denied the museum’s motion to dismiss Marei Von Saher’s lawsuit that seeks the return of the paintings, reports the LA Times.

The judge ruled that the lawsuit would now move forward, after being rejected twice since 2007. He wrote that the plaintiff, Marei Von Saher, “whose family suffered terrible atrocities at the hands of the Nazis, will now have an opportunity to pursue the merits of her claims, and Norton Simon will have an opportunity to pursue any and all defenses to those claims.”

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Marei von Saher, left, has sued for the return of Cranach the Elder's "Adam" and "Eve" paintings, which belonged to her family before it was looted by the Nazis, and is now owned by the Norton Simon Museum. She is pictured with her daughter Charlene. (Courtesy of Marei von Saher)