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Afo-A-Kom – Furman Gallery and Kom people

Afo-A-Kom – Furman Gallery and Kom people

The Afo-A-Kom is a wooden sculpture sacred to the Kom people, a tribal population of Cameroon. In 1966, it was stolen and subsequently sold to a New York art dealer.

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Ancient Manuscripts and Globe – Saint-Gall and Zurich

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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Baldin Collection – Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany and State Hermitage Museum Russia

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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Bélier Malien – France, Jacques Chirac et Mali

Bélier Malien – France, Jacques Chirac et Mali

En novembre 1996, le Président de la République Française Jacques Chirac reçoit en cadeau un quadrupède en terre cuite aux formes massives et stylisées. L’objet, qui provenait d’un site pillé au Mali, sera restitué sous forme de don après négociations en janvier 1998.

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Blumengarten – Deutsch Heirs and Moderna Museet Stockholm

Blumengarten – Deutsch Heirs and Moderna Museet Stockholm

The heirs of Holocaust victims Otto Nathan Deutsch made several requests to the Moderna Museet Stockholm for the restitution of the painting “Blumengarten (Utenwarf)” (1917) by Emil Nolde

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Buste de Diane – Pologne et Auktionshaus im Kinsky

Buste de Diane – Pologne et Auktionshaus im Kinsky

En juin 2015, le Ministère de la culture polonais apprend qu’un buste de Diane, spolié durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale et disparu depuis, va prochainement être vendu à Vienne par la maison de vente Auktionshaus im Kinsky. Le Ministère contacte alors la société Art Recovery International. Avec l’aide de cette dernière et de l’Ambassadeur ainsi que du Consul général de Pologne en Autriche, le buste est restitué à la Pologne le 18 décembre 2015.

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Chasuble – Paraguay et Musée d’ethnographie de Neuchâtel et François Machon

Chasuble – Paraguay et Musée d’ethnographie de Neuchâtel et François Machon

En 1889, le Musée d’ethnographie de Neuchâtel (MEN) reçoit en don une chasuble probablement spoliée au Paraguay pendant la guerre de la Triple Alliance (1864-1870). En 1926, le médecin neuchâtelois François Machon, alors Consul du Paraguay à Lausanne, propose au MEN le retour de la chasuble en échange du don de sa collection ethnographique, ce que le MEN accepte.

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Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rascal – Gentili di Giuseppe Heirs v. Italy

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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Five Schiele Watercolors – Leopold Museum and Eva Zirkl

Five Schiele Watercolors – Leopold Museum and Eva Zirkl

Karl Mayländer, a Jewish businessman and art collector, was deported from Austria to occupied Poland and later killed in the Holocaust. Before leaving, he left his art collection to his partner who later sold it. Five Schiele watercolors from his collection came into the possession of the Leopold Museum. Negotiations between the museum and Eva Zirkl, Mayländer’s heir, concluded with the return of two of the five watercolors to Zirkl.

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G’psgolox Totem Pole – Haisla and Sweden and the Stockholm Museum of Ethnography

G’psgolox Totem Pole – Haisla and Sweden and the Stockholm Museum of Ethnography

In 1927, a totem pole belonging to the Haisla tribe in Canada was stolen and brought to the Stockholm Museum of Ethnography. In 1991, the tribe discovered the location of their totem pole, known as the G’psgolox totem pole, and requested that it be returned. After fifteen years of negotiations, the G’psgolox totem pole was formally returned to the tribe in 2006.

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Great Zimbabwe Bird – Zimbabwe and Prussia Cultural Heritage Foundation, Germany

Great Zimbabwe Bird – Zimbabwe and Prussia Cultural Heritage Foundation, Germany

The lower half of a stone bird discovered in Zimbabwe under dubious circumstances was bought by the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin around 1907. During the Second World War, the stone was removed by the Russian Army. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was returned to the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin. In 2000, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation – which managed the collection of this museum – under the pressure of the German federal government finally returned the fragment of the stone bird to Zimbabwe under the terms of a permanent loan.

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Khmer Statue – Cambodia and Sotheby’s and the United States

Khmer Statue – Cambodia and Sotheby’s and the United States

In March 2011, Sotheby’s offered at auction in New York a Khmer statue. The statue was pulled out of the sale as a result of Cambodia’s request for its restitution. Cambodia claimed that it was illegally removed from the site Koh Ker during the 1970s and should be returned to them.

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Liberation of Saint Peter from Prison – Feldmann Heirs and Private Person

Liberation of Saint Peter from Prison – Feldmann Heirs and Private Person

In 2002, an American professor spontaneously contacted the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) as she suspected that the drawing she had inherited, “The Liberation of Saint Peter from Prison”, was looted from Arthur Feldmann during WWII. IFAR established evidence which confirmed her suspicions and acted as a facilitator, together with the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, in the negotiations between the professor and the Feldmann heirs. In 2004, the professor agreed on the unconditional restitution of the drawing to the Feldmann heirs.

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Machu Picchu Collection – Peru and Yale University

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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Masque Makondé – Tanzanie et Musée Barbier-Mueller

Masque Makondé – Tanzanie et Musée Barbier-Mueller

En 2010, le Musée Barbier-Mueller fait don du Masque Makondé à la Tanzanie, et met ainsi fin à un litige qui aura duré plus de 20 ans. Le litige fut porté devant le Comité intergouvernemental de l’UNESCO. L’Office fédéral suisse de la culture (OFC) est aussi intervenu.

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Quatre momies – Chili et Personne privée

Quatre momies – Chili et Personne privée

Le 20 janvier 2011, un particulier restitue quatre momies vieilles de 4000 à 6000 ans au Chili. Des représentants du Chili, des responsables du Musée d’Ethnographie de la Ville de Genève et le Service spécialisé de l’Office fédéral de la culture ont joué un rôle déterminant dans cette affaire.

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Sammlung 101 - City of Bremen, Kunsthalle Bremen and Russia

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 Bronze Animal Heads – China and Pierre Bergé

Two Bronze Animal Heads – China and Pierre Bergé

In February of 2009, Christie’s offered at auction two 18th-century bronze fountainheads – a rabbit and a rat – owned by the estate of Yves Saint Laurent and his longtime-partner Pierre Bergé. Stolen from the Old Summer Palace by British and French forces during the Second Opium War in 1860, the two heads’ sale provoked controversial international debate, inspiring a Chinese national to bid upon the bronzes at auction and refuse payment. In June of 2013, François-Henri Pinault, owner of Christie’s, returned to China the fountainheads in an effort to strengthen diplomatic and trade relations between France and China.

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Two Souza paintings – Kurtha v. Marks

Two Souza paintings – Kurtha v. Marks

In 1982, Dr Aziz Kurtha purchased two paintings from the Indian artist Francis Souza. They were stolen years later and their ownership changed a number of times, before Michael Marks purchased them on 10 January 2006.

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Ulanen auf dem Marsch – Fondation Max et Iris Stern et Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Ulanen auf dem Marsch – Fondation Max et Iris Stern et Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

En juin 1936, dans un contexte de montée du nazisme, Max Stern, un galeriste juif, vend l’œuvre d’art intitulée « Ulanen auf dem Marsch ». Cette œuvre d’art est acquise en 1986 par le Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen. La Fondation Max et Iris Stern, représentant les héritiers de Max Stern, demande la restitution de la peinture au musée bavarois par le biais de la « Beratende Kommission ».

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