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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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Matisse Painting – Jeanneret v. Vichey
A painting by Henri Matisse was unlawfully exported from Italy to New York because its owner, Anna Vichey, never acquired the mandatory export license in 1970. The painting was then sold to a Swiss art dealer named Marie Jeanneret and delivered to Geneva, Switzerland. After discovering the cloud on the title of the painting, Mme. Jeanneret was unable to sell the painting.
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On the Shore of the Seine – United States 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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The Night Café Painting – Morozov Heirs v. Yale University
In 1908, Ivan Morozov, a Russian art collector, purchased Van Gogh’s painting “The Night Café”. The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution led to the nationalization of private property, and as such Morozov’s art collection was confiscated and subsequently sold.
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Stèles historiques – Galerie d’art c. Italie
En 1980, des stèles historiques sont remises par la Suisse à l’Italie dans le cadre d’une procédure pénale ouverte en Italie. Une Galerie d’art suisse introduit une action en Suisse pour récupérer les stèles historiques. L’Italie se prévaut de son immunité de juridiction.
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Victorious Youth – Italy v. J. Paul Getty Museum
The “Victorious Youth” – a life-size bronze statue created sometime between the 4th and 2nd century BC – is at the centre of an ongoing dispute between Italy and the J. Paul Getty Museum. This statue was discovered in 1964, caught up in the nets of a fishing boat working out of the port of Fano on the Adriatic coast of Italy.
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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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Auschwitz Suitcase – Pierre Lévi Heirs and Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Oswiecim and Shoah Memorial Museum Paris
After an initial unsuccessful attempt to negotiate the dispute regarding a suitcase between the heirs of the Holocaust victim Pierre Lévi and the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, the heirs decided to file a restitution claim against the Museum. The parties eventually settled with the help of the Shoah Memorial Museum in Paris and agreed to a long-term loan of the suitcase at the Shoah Memorial Museum.
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View of the Asylum and Chapel at St. Rémy – Mauthner Heirs v. Elizabeth Taylor
In 2007, the court battle over the van Gogh painting “View of the Asylum and Chapel at St. Rémy” came to an end when the United States Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari, thereby finalising the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadina.
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View of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – Mauthner Heirs v. Switzerland
Andrew Orkin sued the Swiss Confederation, the Oskar Reinhart Foundation and the Oskar Reinhart Collection in the United States in order to recover possession of the drawing “View of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer”. Orkin alleged that his great-grandmother, Margarethe Mauthner, sold the painting under duress during the Nazi era.
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