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ArThemis is a fully searchable database containing case notes about art and cultural property disputes settled through alternative resolution methods or traditional judicial proceedings.
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En 1838, Badu Bonsu II, roi des Ahanta du Ghana, est condamné à mort par les autorités coloniales néerlandaises. Il sera pendu et décapité. Sa tête sera transportée aux Pays-Bas. Par la suite, un accord de restitution de cette tête sera signé à La Haye entre les gouvernements néerlandais et ghanéen ainsi qu’un représentant de la tribu Ahanta.
Hans Sachs began collecting posters from the end of the nineteenth century. This collection was considered lost as a result of its seizure by the Nazis in 1937. In 2005, Peter Sachs, as Hans Sachs’ son and sole heir, located his father’s collection at the German Historical Museum and demanded its restitution. A judgment of the German Federal Court of Justice made possible the return of the poster collection to Peter Sachs.
Raoul Meyer’s art collection, which included Camille Pissarro’s painting “La bergère rentrant des moutons”, was looted by Nazi troops during the occupation of France in early 1940s. Decades later, Meyer’s daughter and heir, Léone Meyer, discovered the painting at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, and initiated a lawsuit in the United States seeking its return. After a three-year litigation, the two sides reached a settlement in 2016.
On 10 February 1998, the Chinese government and two British dealers signed an out-of-court agreement that resolved the question of ownership of over 3000 archaeological objects. Most probably were transferred to the United Kingdom through illegal excavation and trafficking. This early case shows how countries, both exporting (like China) and importing (like the United Kingdom), had to review and adapt their systems to better combat against the illicit traffic.
The Canon Tables of the Zeyt’un Gospels were illegally separated from the manuscript sometime between 1915-1923. Having discovered that the Tables had been stolen and were held at the J. Paul Getty Museum in California, the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church engaged in a legal battle with the Getty regarding the restitution of the Tables. After five years, the two sides reached a settlement in 2015.
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La saga judiciaire s’achève enfin pour l’extraordinaire sarcophage romain en marbre blanc représentant les douze travaux d’Hercule. Après sept ans de procédure, cette pièce rarissime va pouvoir être restituée prochainement à son pays d’origine, puisqu’elle est reconnue comme étant issue d’une fouille clandestine et exportée illégalement de Turquie