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200 Paintings – Goudstikker Heirs and the Netherlands
The art collection of Jacques Goudstikker was acquired by the Nazi commander Hermann Göring under suspicious circumstances during the Second World War. A large part of the collection was recovered by the Allied Forces after the war and it was subsequently returned to the Netherlands where it was labelled “Dutch national property”. The first part of these items was bought back by Goudstikker’s wife under a settlement agreement of 1952. The Dutch Government returned the second part – 200 paintings – to Marei Von Saher (the only surviving heir of Jacques Goudstikker) in 2006 based on a recommendation of the Dutch Restitution Committee.
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Beneventan Missal – Metropolitan Chapter of the Cathedral City of Benevento and British Library
On 11 November 2010, a 12th Century manuscript, also known as the “Beneventan Missal”, was returned to the Metropolitan Chapter of the Cathedral City of Benevento, in Italy. The Missal disappeared in 1943 when the city was occupied by the Allied forces during World War II.
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Bogazköy Sphinx – Turkey and Germany
In 2011, Germany decided to conclude the long running dispute concerning the “Boğazköy Sphinx” by voluntarily transferring to the Turkish Government the title of the sculpture.
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Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well – Gross-Eisenstädt Heirs and Museum de Fundatie
In 1933, Jewish businessman and art collector Richard Semmel was forced to leave Berlin and sell parts of his art collection for economic survival. Among the works was the Italian painting Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, which was bought by Dirk Hannema, a Dutch museums director. Since 1964, the painting has been in the Museum de Fundatie, which Hannema founded and to which he donated the painting.
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Four Old Master Drawings – Feldmann Heirs and the British Museum
In May of 2002, the British Museum was confronted with a restitution claim by the heirs of the Second World War victim, Arthur Feldmann, regarding four Old Master drawings. The Commission of Looted Art Europe, who represented the claimant, and the British Museum, jointly sought guidance from the Spoliation Advisory Panel. After deferral of the Attorney General, the High Court held that under the British Museum Act the Museum could not restitute an object in order to meet a moral obligation without an Act of Parliament. Eventually, the British Museum followed the recommendation of the Spoliation Advisory Panel and compensated the family with an ex gratia payment.
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Madonna and Child with Wild Roses – Gross-Eisenstadt Heirs and Utrecht City Council
German-Jewish businessman Richard Semmel had an extensive art collection which he was forced to sell after fleeing Jewish persecution in Germany. Among this collection was the painting “Madonna and Child with Wild Roses” by Jan van Scorel.
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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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Pulcinell Sculpture – Budge Heirs v. Anonymous Purchaser
A sculpture of Pulcinell was purchased by an anonymous buyer at auction in London in 2016. The buyer applied for an export license and the case came before the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest of the United Kingdom. During the review, it was discovered that the sculpture had been subject to forced sale by Nazis in 1937. The heirs of Emma Budge, the dispossessed owner of the sculpture, discovering what had become of the sculpture, attempted to secure its restitution.
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Road to Calvary – Oppenheimer Heirs and Private Person
In 1935, Nazi authorities took from Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer a painting entitled “Road to Calvary” by Brunswijker Monogrammist and sold it at auction. The painting resurfaced in 2006 when a Dutch private individual brought it to Sotheby’s determined to sell it. Instead of asking for the painting’s restitution, the Oppenheimer heirs demanded a portion of the sale’s proceeds. The Dutch Restitutions Committee issued a binding opinion on the matter, as requested by the parties.
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Six Klimt paintings – Maria Altmann and Austria
Maria Altmann brought suit in the United States against the Republic of Austria and the Austrian National Gallery to recover six paintings by Gustav Klimt that the Nazis took during the Second World War from her Jewish relatives, Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer. Although the Supreme Court of the United States lifted Austria’s jurisdictional immunity, the disputants reached an agreement to end the litigation and submit the dispute to arbitration in Austria. The arbitration panel ruled that Austria was obliged to return five of the Klimt’s masterpieces to Maria Altmann.
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