The Law: Paint Your Own Château

The painting of the Loire Valley Château de Lassay that was sold by a Paris gallery last month had a price tag of $6,000. It carried the signature of Painter Bernard Buffet. But neither the price nor Buffet's reputation intimidated the flics, who swooped down on the gallery and legally "seized" the painting, forbidding the purchaser from taking it home. They were acting on a court order obtained by Marcel de Marchéville, owner of the 478-year-old chateau. When a man's castle is his home —and is classified a national monument to boot—De Marchéville explained, the law gives the owner the right...