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Cranach Diptych – Goudstikker Heirs and Norton Simon Museum
The Cranach diptych “Adam and Eve” was presumably part of Jacques Goudstikker’s collection looted by the Nazis during the Second World War. For several years, Goudstikker’s sole heir, Marei von Saher, and the Norton Simon Museum have led unsuccessful negotiations regarding the heir’s restitution claim. Notwithstanding the support received by the State of California and by several organizations, Marei von Saher’s claims in replevin were dismissed by both the District Court for the Central District of California and by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The heir’s battle is still ongoing.
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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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Herzog Collection – De Csepel et al. v. Republic of Hungary et al.
The “Herzog Collection” was originally an assembly of over two thousand works of art, collected by Baron Mór Lipót Herzog in the early 1900s. During World War II, the collection was seized by the Hungarian government, under Nazi orders. For the last seven decades, the Herzog Heirs have attempted to reclaim the Collection from the Republic of Hungary, without success. Now, the Herzog Heirs are taking their claim to the United States Supreme Court.
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The Windmill – Rüdenberg Heirs v. City of Hannover
Max Rüdenberg, a Jewish salesman and art collector, acquired several modern art pieces beginning in the late 1910s. Due to the discriminatory Nazi politics, the Rüdenberg family was forced to sell the art collection, including the painting “The Windmill” by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.
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La cueillette de Pissarro – Héritiers Simon Bauer c. Bruce et Robbi Toll
Les héritiers de Simon Bauer, juif déporté dont la collection avait été confisquée sous le régime nazi, profitent de la présence du tableau de Pissarro « La cueillette » en France dans le cadre d’une exposition pour en demander la restitution. Le Tribunal de grande instance de Paris ordonne la restitution de la toile le 7 novembre 2017. La Cour d’appel a confirmé cette décision le 2 octobre 2018.
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Buste d’un jeune garçon – Héritiers Gentili di Giuseppe et Art Institute de Chicago
En 1999, les héritiers de l’important collectionneur d’art de confession juive Federico Gentili di Giuseppe ont contacté l’Art Institute de Chicago afin d’obtenir la restitution d’un buste de Francesco Mochi (« Buste d’un jeune garçon »). Ce buste avait été vendu en France lors d’une vente par la suite annulée par les juges français car constitutive de spoliation.
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Nature morte au tableau de Picasso – Héritiers Schlesinger et Phillips
En 1925, Ernst Schlesinger lègue à Johanna Meyer-Udewald l’usufruit d’une toile de Picasso (« Nature morte au tableau »). De confession juive, Johanna Meyer-Udewald est faite prisonnière par les Nazis et la toile passe par diverses mains avant d’arriver dans celles de Duncan C. Phillips, qui l’acquiert sans connaître son histoire.
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Trois tableaux spoliés – Héritiers Oppenheimer, van Doorn, Soepkez et France
Le 11 mars 2014, Aurélie Filippetti, Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication du gouvernement français, a officiellement restitué aux ayants-droit des trois familles qui avaient été spoliées par les Nazis (Oppenheimer, van Doorn et Soepkez) trois tableaux qui avaient été classés « Musées Nationaux Récupération ».
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Schiele Drawing – Grunbaum Heirs v. David Bakalar
In 1938, the Nazi expropriated the art collection of Fritz Grunbaum while he was detained in Dachau concentration camp. In 1963, David Bakalar purchased a Schiele drawing that had belonged to the Grunbaum family from a gallery in Bern.
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Three Grosz Paintings – Grosz Heirs v. Museum of Modern Art
In April of 2009, after a decade-long search for artworks lost during Nazi persecution, George Grosz’s legal heirs brought action against the Museum of Modern Art, seeking declaration of title and replevin as to three of the artist’s paintings in the Museum’s possession, and requesting damages for their unlawful conversion. Holding that the action was time-barred by the statute of limitations, the District Court granted the museum’s motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York affirmed the order on appeal, and the United States Supreme Court denied the Heirs’ writ of certiorari.
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