Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

The Case of the Missing Ancestors – Have You Seen These Paintings?

The portraits of Morton Hurt’s French Huguenot ancestors, Jean Louis Poyas and Marie Jordain Poyas, hanging in his parents’ house at 361 N. Citrus Ave., sometime before the paintings’ sale in 1994.


Morton Hurt, former Larchmont/Windsor Square resident who is now looking for the historic paintings of his French Huguenot ancestors.

Morton Hurt, now living in Seattle and retired from a 26-year career at the Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company, grew up at 133 S. Windsor Blvd., and has fond memories of Larchmont Blvd. throughout his youth.  After his parents,  Arthur Curtis Hurt, Jr. and Vesta “Jane” Hurt, retired in the late 1970s, they downsized a bit and moved to 361 N. Citrus Ave…an address that more recently gained infamy when its still-lovely historic house was demolished by new buyers in 2019.

This was long after Hurt’s parents owned it, however, and today’s story is about something much more fun – what Hurt calls his “quest” to find a pair of family heirloom paintings his parents owned, depicting Arthur Hurt’s 4th Great Paternal Grandparents, Jean Louis Poyas (1700 – 1756) and Marie Jordain Poyas (1700 – 1753), French Huguenots who emigrated from France to the U.S.  The paintings last hung at the Citrus house, and were auctioned off (as a pair) in an estate liquidation after Arthur Hurt died in 1994.

Morton Hurt’s family has no record of the auction company or the buyer of the paintings, but when he recently did a Google search for the Citrus address, and found our story about the 2019 demolition, he contacted the Buzz to see if we could help with his search.

According to Hurt, the family legend is that the paintings were sent from France to the U.S. in the early 1800s, and although the ship the artworks were being transported on (whose name has been lost to history) sank, the paintings were rescued and passed down through generations of family in the U.S., eventually making their way to Hurt’s parents.  The portraits hung in both of the Hurts’ local homes, first on Windsor Blvd. and later on Citrus, where they remained until they were sold after Arthur Hurt’s death.

Morton Hurt, who now spends a lot of time working on his family’s genealogy, says his niece, Curtis, and her husband Andre Cronthall, have become interested in the paintings, are eager to re-acquire them, and would be willing to pay the current owners what they paid for the artworks in 1994, “plus a reasonable additional amount in consideration of the current owners reuniting of these portraits to our family.” So Hurt has joined in the quest to track down the paintings, and is hoping that perhaps a neighborhood resident bought them at the 1994 auction, or knows who did…and that the buyer and/or paintings, or their whereabouts, might be familiar to one of our Buzz readers.

We definitely thought it was a question worth passing along, and we’d love to be able to relate any information, or even memories, about the artworks to Hurt.  So, readers…we ask you:  have you seen these paintings, and can you help us solve the Case of the Missing Ancestors?  If so, please post a comment at the bottom of this story, or contact us at [email protected].  We can’t wait to see what turns up!



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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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  1. I would contact the California Club, or Jonathan Club. Many similar paitings have been donated by the club’s members over the years.

  2. Never thought someone else would have the same gold needlepoint dining room chairs as me. Our grandmothers must have been sisters.


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