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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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Marienkirche Window Panels – Germany and Russia, State Hermitage Museum, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
In 1997, 111 panels originally forming a window of the St. Marienkirche (St Mary Church) in Frankfurt-on-the-Oder were located in the Russian State Hermitage Museum. They were brought to Russia by Soviet troops following World War II. In 2001, after difficult negotiations, Russia agreed to return the panels to Germany. In exchange, the German Government offered to finance the reconstruction of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God located near Novgorod. A second group of 6 panels found in 2005 in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts was returned to Germany in 2008.
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Morgantina Goddess Statue – Italy and J. Paul Getty Museum
An ancient statue of a goddess, which was likely illegally excavated in the late 1970s in Italy, was purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1988 for a record-setting US$18 million. That same year, Italian authorities began an investigation at the conclusion of which the Getty Museum agreed to consider returning the statue to Italy.
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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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Nähschule – Max Silberberg Heirs and Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur
The painting, “Nähschule – Arbeitssaal im Amsterdamer Waisenhaus” by Max Lieberman, was bequeathed to the Art Museum in Chur (Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur) in 1992, and was claimed in 1999 by the heir of Max Silberberg. The Jewish art collector was forced to sell it in 1934 due to great financial pressure under the growing persecution of Jews at the prelude to the Second World War. In May 2000, the Art Museum in Chur agreed to an unconditional restitution of the painting to the heir.
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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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Nature morte au tableau de Picasso – Héritiers Schlesinger et Phillips
En 1925, Ernst Schlesinger lègue à Johanna Meyer-Udewald l’usufruit d’une toile de Picasso (« Nature morte au tableau »). De confession juive, Johanna Meyer-Udewald est faite prisonnière par les Nazis et la toile passe par diverses mains avant d’arriver dans celles de Duncan C. Phillips, qui l’acquiert sans connaître son histoire.
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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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Orpheus Mosaic – Turkey and Dallas Museum of Art
In December 2012, the Dallas Museum of Art returned to Turkey a fragment of a Roman mosaic. In addition, the parties concluded a comprehensive art exchange program.
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Parrot Lady Sculpture – Canada and India
“Parrot Lady” is a 800 year old sandstone sculpture from a Khajuraho temple in India. It was returned by Canada to India in 2015 in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
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