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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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Khmer Statue – Cambodia and Sotheby’s and the United States
In March 2011, Sotheby’s offered at auction in New York a Khmer statue. The statue was pulled out of the sale as a result of Cambodia’s request for its restitution. Cambodia claimed that it was illegally removed from the site Koh Ker during the 1970s and should be returned to them.
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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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Pre-Columbian Archaeological Objects – United States v. McClain
This case affirmed the conviction of several dealers who conspired to sell archaeological objects removed from Mexico in violation of the National Stolen Property Act (NSPA). Under the NSPA, it is a crime to deal in property that has been “stolen, unlawfully converted or taken, knowing the same to be stolen”.
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Two Bronze Animal Heads – China and Pierre Bergé
In February of 2009, Christie’s offered at auction two 18th-century bronze fountainheads – a rabbit and a rat – owned by the estate of Yves Saint Laurent and his longtime-partner Pierre Bergé. Stolen from the Old Summer Palace by British and French forces during the Second Opium War in 1860, the two heads’ sale provoked controversial international debate, inspiring a Chinese national to bid upon the bronzes at auction and refuse payment. In June of 2013, François-Henri Pinault, owner of Christie’s, returned to China the fountainheads in an effort to strengthen diplomatic and trade relations between France and China.
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Elmali Hoard – Turkey and OKS Partners
In 1999, OKS Partners, a consortium comprised of, among others, the American businessman William Koch, returned to Turkey nearly 1700 ancient coins. The coins were part of the Elmali Hoard, a precious and rare collection of ancient coins, also called the “Hoard of the Century,” that had been illegally excavated and smuggled out of Turkey in 1984.
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Dancing Shiva Statue – India and National Gallery of Australia
In 2006, New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor arranged the theft and illegal exportation of a 900-year old bronze statue of the Dancing Shiva from a small temple in Southern India. In 2008, the National Gallery of Australia bought the statue for AUD$5.6 million.
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On the Shore of the Seine – United States of America v. Baltimore Museum of Art
In 1951, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s painting “On the shore of the Seine” was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in the United States. Over fifty years later, Marcia Fuqua bought this painting for US $7 at a flea market and tried to auction it off after learning of its value.
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Sarah Baartman – France and South Africa
Sarah Baartman, a South African woman of Khoisan origin, also known as the “Hottentot Venus”, was exhibited as a freak show attraction in London and Paris in the 19th century. When she died, her body was dissected and her remains were exposed at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
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Aidonia Treasure – Greece and Ward Gallery
A collection of golden Mycenaean jewellery (the Aidonia Treasure) was acquired by the Ward Gallery of New York in early 1993. Before proceeding with the purchase the Gallery made enquiries in various Mediterranean States, including Greece, to find out whether the treasure was stolen. Greece responded in the negative, but it later sued the Gallery seeking restitution.
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