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Quedlinburg Treasures – Quedlinburg Church and Meador Heirs
After the withdrawal of US troops from the medieval town of Quedlinburg in Nazi Germany, the “Quedlinburg Treasures” were found to be missing. This theft was perpetrated by US soldier Joe T. Meador. After his death, the manuscripts passed on to his brother and sister who attempted to sell them. Some manuscripts were purchased by West German entities, whereas the Church of Quedlinburg purchased the rest of the treasures pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Meador Heirs.
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G’psgolox Totem Pole – Haisla and Sweden and the Stockholm Museum of Ethnography
In 1927, a totem pole belonging to the Haisla tribe in Canada was stolen and brought to the Stockholm Museum of Ethnography. In 1991, the tribe discovered the location of their totem pole, known as the G’psgolox totem pole, and requested that it be returned. After fifteen years of negotiations, the G’psgolox totem pole was formally returned to the tribe in 2006.
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Wasco Sally Bag – American dealer and Paul Cary and the Yakama Nation Museum
In 2007, Paul Cary acquired a Wasco Sally bag, an object from the Native American group, the Yakama Nation, from an American dealer. When Paul Cary learned that the bag was stolen from the Yakama Nation Museum, he returned it to the dealer and informed the museum. Subsequent negotiations initiated between the museum and the dealer would have remained unfruitful, if it was not for the involvement of Paul Cary. He offered the dealer financial compensation for half of his losses should he return the bag to the museum. Moreover, he would attempt to obtain the financing of the second half from the Yakama tribe. The parties agreed.
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14 Antiquities – Italy and Cleveland Museum of Art
On 19 November 2008, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities and the Cleveland Museum of Art signed an agreement concerning 14 antiquities in the museum’s collection. This agreement provides for the return to Italy of the artworks in exchange for loans of “a similar number of works of equal aesthetic and historical significance”.
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Lebanese Archives – Lebanon and University of Geneva
In 2010, the University of Geneva sent to Lebanon the archives concerning the excavations conducted at Byblos, an archaeological site located in the northern part of Beirut, by the French archaeologist Maurice Dunand. The University had acquired the archives from Dunand in 1984.
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La Bergère – Meyer Heirs and Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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.
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Morgantina Goddess Statue – Italy and J. Paul Getty Museum
An ancient statue of a goddess, which was likely illegally excavated in the late 1970s in Italy, was purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1988 for a record-setting US$18 million. That same year, Italian authorities began an investigation at the conclusion of which the Getty Museum agreed to consider returning the statue to Italy.
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Orpheus Mosaic – Turkey and Dallas Museum of Art
In December 2012, the Dallas Museum of Art returned to Turkey a fragment of a Roman mosaic. In addition, the parties concluded a comprehensive art exchange program.
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Masque Makondé – Tanzanie et Musée Barbier-Mueller
En 2010, le Musée Barbier-Mueller fait don du Masque Makondé à la Tanzanie, et met ainsi fin à un litige qui aura duré plus de 20 ans. Le litige fut porté devant le Comité intergouvernemental de l’UNESCO. L’Office fédéral suisse de la culture (OFC) est aussi intervenu.
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14 Artworks – Malewicz Heirs and City of Amsterdam
In 2003, 14 works of art by the Russian artist Kazimir Malewicz were exported to the United States by the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam to be part of a temporary exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Menil Collection in Houston. Shortly before the end of the loans, the heirs of Malewicz brought an action against the City of Amsterdam seeking to recover the value of the artworks or, in the alternative, the artworks themselves.
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