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Case 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 in California 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 Supreme Court of the United States denied the heir’s petition for writ of certiorari.
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Guelph Treasure – Alan Philipp, Gerald G. Stiebel and Jed R. Leiber v. Germany and Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation
A collection of medieval ecclesiastical art is claimed by the heirs of three Jewish dealers, who allege that the collection was sold under duress during the Nazi era. After an unsuccessful conciliation in front of Germany’s Advisory Commission, the claim is being litigated before the courts of the United States. On 3 February 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favour of Germany on the interpretation of the expropriation exception in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
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Buddhist Paintings – Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) bought four Buddhist paintings in 1998. These paintings were featured in frequent exhibitions of LACMA’s Korean art galleries until the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism notified LACMA that the paintings were stolen. After amicable negotiation, these paintings were returned to the Jogye Order in August 2020.
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Crâne d’Ataï – France et Nouvelle-Calédonie
En 1878, le grand chef Ataï fût tué lors de la rébellion de son clan contre l’accaparement des terres par les colonisateurs français. Devenu le symbole de la lutte contre le colonialisme français en Nouvelle-Calédonie, sa tête a été mise à prix avant de devenir propriété de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris (SAP). Dès les accords de Matignon en 1988, la France a promis le retour du crâne d’Ataï. Toutefois, ce n’est qu’en 2014, après des demandes réitérées, que le crâne fut finalement restitué à ses descendants.
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La Seine vue du Pont-Neuf, au fond le Louvre
Durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, le tableau de Camille Pissarro "La Seine vue du Pont-Neuf, au fond le Louvre" appartenant à Max Heilbronn est spolié par le régime nazi. En 2012, lors d'une perquisition chez Cornelius Gurlitt les autorités allemandes saisissent une collection d'œuvres dont le tableau de Camille Pissaro fait partie. Cornelius Gurlitt décède et lègue sa collection au Kunstmuseum de Berne. Le tableau est finalement restitué à l’héritière de Max Heilbronn.
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Two Lithographs of the Glaser Collection – Glaser Heirs and Kunstmuseum Basel
In 1933, the Kunstmuseum Basel purchased about 200 drawings and prints at the Max Perl auction in Berlin. These works belonged to Curt Glaser, a Jewish art collector and director of the Art Library in Berlin. In 2004, the Glaser heirs requested the Kunstmuseum to return two artworks by Edvard Munch, but the Museum refused. Following negociations, the Kunstmuseum Basel and the heirs of Curt Glaser reached a seemingly “just and fair solution”.
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The Actor – Leffmann Heir v. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Before the Second World War, Paul and Alice Leffmann, a couple of German Jews, fled Germany to Italy and then to Brazil. To be able to leave Europe, they sold the painting “The Actor” by Picasso to three art dealers for a fraction of its market value. In 1939, one of the dealers sold the painting to Thelma Foy. Several years later, Thelma Foy donated the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) of New York. In the 2010s, the great-grandniece of Paul and Alice Leffmanns sued the MET to retrieve the painting.
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Ulanen auf dem Marsch – Fondation Max et Iris Stern et Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
En juin 1936, dans un contexte de montée du nazisme, Max Stern, un galeriste juif, vend l’œuvre d’art intitulée « Ulanen auf dem Marsch ». Cette œuvre d’art est acquise en 1986 par le Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen. La Fondation Max et Iris Stern, représentant les héritiers de Max Stern, demande la restitution de la peinture au musée bavarois par le biais de la « Beratende Kommission ».
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Two Schiele Paintings – Grunbaum Heirs v. Richard Nagy
In 1938, the Nazis expropriated the art collection of Fritz Grunbaum while he was detained in Dachau concentration camp. In 2016, the Grunbaum heirs filed suit against Richard Nagy, the art dealer in possession of two of the paintings by Schiele that formed part of Fritz Grunbaum’s collection (“Woman in a Black Pinafore” and “Woman Hiding Her Face”). Eventually, the New York’s Supreme Court directed Nagy to return the artworks to the Grunbaum heirs.
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Balangiga Bells – Philippines and United States
The Balangiga Bells were removed in 1901 from the parish church of San Lorenzo de Martir in Balangiga, Eastern Samar, in the Philippines, by soldiers of the United States Armed Forces. The three bells returned to the Philippines in 2018 following the amendment of the law of the United States that originally prevented their return.
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