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Murals of Teotihuacán – Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and National Institute of Anthropology and History
In 1978, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco became the owner of a number of murals from the world-famous Aztec site of Teotihuacán (Mexico). The Mexican Government failed in its attempts to obtain the return of these wall paintings through a court action in the United States.
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Kanakaria Mosaics – Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus and Cyprus v. Goldberg
Four mosaics were stolen from the Cypriot Church of the Panagia Kanakaria in Lythrankomi, following the Turkish military intervention in Cyprus of 1974. Afterwards, they were purchased by an American art dealer, Peg Goldberg. In 1989, the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus traced the mosaics to Indiana and filed a judicial claim to obtain restitution.
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Mosaïques de Kanakaria – Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus et Chypre c. Goldberg
Quatre mosaïques sont volées dans l’Eglise chypriote du village de Lythrankomi. Une dizaine d’années plus tard, elles sont achetées par Goldberg, une commerçante d’art américaine. L’Eglise chypriote finit par apprendre le lieu où se trouvent les mosaïques et la personne en possession de celles-ci. Peu après, l’Eglise chypriote et la République de Chypre introduisent une action en justice auprès des tribunaux de l’Etat de l’Indiana aux Etats-Unis.
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Jardin à Auvers – Agent judiciare du Trésor c. Walter
Dans son arrêt du 20 février 1996, la Cour de Cassation de la France a condamné l’Etat français à indemniser le propriétaire d’un tableau dont l’exportation avait été refusée pour cause de classement d’office.
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Two Dürer Paintings – Kunstsammlungen Zu Weimar v. Elicofon
In 1945, two portraits by Albrecht Dürer were stolen from the collection of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar. Stored for safekeeping in the Schwarburg Castle during the Second World War, the paintings disappeared during the time that American troops occupied the Castle.
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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 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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Portrait d’Isabelle d’Este – Cecchini c. Italie
Dans le cadre d’une procédure pénale, le procureur du Tribunal de Pesaro (Italie) a adressé à la Suisse une demande d’entraide judiciaire portant sur un tableau attribué à Leonardo da Vinci qui aurait été transféré d’Italie en Suisse, par sa propriétaire, sans l’autorisation des autorités italiennes. Après avoir fait séquestrer le tableau, le Ministère public du Tessin ordonne la remise de ce dernier à l’Italie. La propriétaire de l’œuvre recourt contre cette décision jusqu’au Tribunal fédéral, qui casse la décision précédente.
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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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