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Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory – Konowaloff v. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ivan Morozov’s extensive art collection, which included the painting by Cézanne called Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory, was confiscated by the Bolsheviks and declared property of the state. Stephen Clark purchased Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory from the Second Museum of Western Art in 1933. Upon his death, he bequeathed the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pierre Konowaloff, Morozov’s heir, brought an action for restitution of the painting in the United States federal courts. His claim was unsuccessful and the Metropolitan Museum of Art retained the painting.
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Manuscrit du Marquis de Sade – Héritier Nordmann et héritier de Noailles et Gérard Lhéritier
Les « Cent Vingt Journées de Sodome » du Marquis de Sade avait été dérobé à la famille de Nouailles puis acquis par un collectionneur suisse – Gérard Nordmann – qui a toujours refusé de la rendre. C’est grâce à un accord entre l’héritier des Nouailles et l’héritier Nordmann que le manuscrit a pu retourner en France, où il a été classé trésor national en 2017.
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Maori Panels – New Zealand and Ortiz Heirs
In 1972, five rare Maori wooden panels were discovered in a swamp in New Zealand’s North Island. Shortly after the discovery, the panels were illegally exported out of the country by an antiquities dealer and then bought by Swiss collector George Ortiz. In 2014 New Zealand obtained the return of the Maori panels by virtue of an agreement with the heirs of Ortiz.
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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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Mercedes Shipwreck – Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. v. Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel
In 2007, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. found a shipwreck of the Spanish Royal Navy Frigate Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, loaded with many tonnes of coins. Odyssey filed an in rem action in the United States federal court to get legal title to the shipwreck and the coins, but the court found that they did not have the jurisdiction to decide the case according to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. As a result, the Mercedes and its cargo were given over to the custody of Spain.
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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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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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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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On the Shore of the Seine – United States of America 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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