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14 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Cleveland Museum of Art
On 19 November 2008, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities and the Cleveland Museum of Art signed an agreement concerning 14 archaeological objects in the museum’s collection. This agreement provides for the return to Italy of the artworks in exchange for loans of “a similar number of works of equal aesthetic and historical significance”.
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Portrait of a Young Peasant – Beyeler v. Italy
In its judgment of 5 January 2000, the European Court of Human Rights held that the Italian State violated Mr. Beyeler’s right to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions while using its pre-emption right over the Van Gogh painting “Portrait of a Young Peasant”.
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Sammlung 101 - City of Bremen, Kunsthalle Bremen and Russia
In the 1990s, Russia and the City of Bremen began to negotiate for the return of “Sammlung 101”, a collection of 101 drawings. The drawings were transferred from the Kunsthalle Bremen (Bremen Art Museum) to Russia in the aftermath of the Second World War by a Soviet soldier.
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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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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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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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Ka Nefer Nefer Mask – United States v. Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer
On July 28, 2014, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request of the United States Government to take further legal action regarding the St. Louis Art Museum’s ownership of the 3200 year old Egyptian Ka Nefer Nefer funerary mask.
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Hopi Masks – Hopi Tribe v. Néret-Minet and Estimations & Ventes aux Enchères
Between 2013 and 2014, dozens of Hopi’s sacred objects were sold at auctions in Paris despite strong protests and legal actions launched by the Hopi tribe. These actions were unsuccessful because French judicial authorities denied legal standing to the Hopis and considered that the sales did not violate French law.
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Lebanese Archives – Lebanon and University of Geneva
In 2010, the University of Geneva sent to Lebanon the archives concerning the excavations conducted at Byblos, an archaeological site located in the northern part of Beirut, by the French archaeologist Maurice Dunand. The University had acquired the archives from Dunand in 1984.
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Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rascal – Gentili di Giuseppe Heirs v. Italy
In 1941, the painting “Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rascal” by Girolamo Romanino was confiscated by Nazi-controlled French authorities from Federico Gentili di Giuseppe – an Italian of Jewish descent living in Paris – and then sold at auction.
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