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Lydian Hoard – Turkey and Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Lydian Hoard is a sixth-century B.C. collection of gold and silver objects which was clandestinely excavated in Turkey in the 1960s. It was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) of New York. A formal demand for its return was made by Turkey in 1986.
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Machu Picchu Collection – Peru and Yale University
Between 1912 and 1916, Hiram Bingham, a history professor at Yale University, shipped to the United States several artefacts that had been excavated at the Machu Picchu site with the authorization of the Peruvian Government. Peru formally requested restitution in 1918 and 1920, but to no avail. In 2001, negotiations between Peru and Yale University resumed. However, the resulting accord discontented the Peruvian Government. As a result, Peru filed suit in the United States against Yale University seeking the return of the collection and damages.
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Ancient Manuscripts and Globe – Saint-Gall and Zurich
Thanks to the Swiss Confederation who acted as a mediator, the dispute between the Cantons of Zurich and Saint-Gall over cultural objects displaced during the religious wars of 1712 was ultimately settled in 2006 by an inventive agreement.
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Madonna and Child in a Landscape – Philipp von Gomperz Heirs and North Carolina Museum of Art
In 2000, the North Carolina Museum of Art handed over the painting “Madonna and Child in a Landscape” to Philipp von Gomperz’s heirs after being presented with evidence that it had been looted by the Nazis. The heirs rewarded the Museum’s response by selling the painting to it at a price substantially below its market value.
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Nataraja Idol – India and the Norton Simon Foundation
In 1956, an ancient bronze statue of the Lord Siva (Lord of the Cosmic Dance or Sivapuram Nataraja) was removed from a temple in India for restoration purposes, subsequently held by an Indian private collector and ultimately sent to the United States with false export documents. In 1973, the Nataraja idol was sold by a New York dealer to the Norton Simon Foundation.
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Odalisque Painting – Paul Rosenberg Heirs and Seattle Art Museum
In June 1999, the Seattle Art Museum returned the painting Oriental Woman Seated on Floor (also known as Odalisque), by Henri Matisse, to the heirs of Paul Rosenberg. The painting was donated to the museum in 1991 by the Bloedel family.
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Lighthouse With Rotating Beam – Flechtheim Heirs and Kunstmuseum Bonn
The heirs of the art dealer and collector Alfred Flechtheim besought the Kunstmuseum Bonn for the restitution of the painting “Lighthouse With Rotating Beam” by Paul Adolf Seehaus, alleging that it was part of Alfred Flechtheim’s collection before he fled Nazi persecution. After consideration of the claim, the Museum decided to keep the painting, but agreed to reimburse the heirs for half its market value.
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Landscape with Smokestacks – Friedrich Gutmann Heirs and Daniel Searle
The heirs of Friedrich and Louise Gutmann, filed a claim against the art dealer Daniel Searle, the owner of the painting “Landscape with Smokestacks”. The painting was allegedly looted by the Nazis during the Second World War. After four years of litigation, the parties agreed to share the ownership of the painting.
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Baldin Collection – Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany and State Hermitage Museum Russia
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Soviet Army Captain Victor Baldin brought to Moscow many artworks of the collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen (Bremen Art Museum). The dispute for the restitution of the so-called “Baldin Collection” is ongoing and has grown to one of the most debated cases between Germany and Russia.
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Collection Varenne – Héritiers Varenne et Ville de Genève
En 2008, un accord est conclu entre la Ville de Genève et les héritiers Varenne portant sur la collection « Varenne ». La Ville de Genève renonce à la donation « Varenne » initiale en échange notamment de CHF 30.000.000.
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