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Artwork/oeuvre d’art

Sumpflegende – Héritiers Lissitzky-Küppers et Ville de Munich

Sumpflegende – Héritiers Lissitzky-Küppers et Ville de Munich

Après 25 ans de litige juridique et de négociation, le sort de « Sumpflegende », un tableau de Paul Klee prêté à une galerie allemande en 1926 puis confisqué par les Nazis au titre d’art « dégénéré », est scellé. En juillet 2017, les héritiers de Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers, laquelle avait prêté le tableau, concluent un accord avec la Ville de Munich et une fondation privée. L’œuvre reste exposée dans un musée munichois et les héritiers Lissitzky-Küppers sont indemnisés.

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The Actor – Leffmann Heir v. Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Actor – Leffmann Heir v. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Before the Second World War, Paul and Alice Leffmann, a couple of German Jews, fled Germany to Italy and then to Brazil. To be able to leave Europe, they sold the painting “The Actor” by Picasso to three art dealers for a fraction of its market value. In 1939, one of the dealers sold the painting to Thelma Foy. Several years later, Thelma Foy donated the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) of New York. In the 2010s, the great-grandniece of Paul and Alice Leffmanns sued the MET to retrieve the painting.

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The Night Café Painting – Morozov Heirs v. Yale University

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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The Windmill – Rüdenberg Heirs v. City of Hannover

The Windmill – Rüdenberg Heirs v. City of Hannover

Max Rüdenberg, a Jewish salesman and art collector, acquired several modern art pieces beginning in the late 1910s. Due to the discriminatory Nazi politics, the Rüdenberg family was forced to sell the art collection, including the painting “The Windmill” by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.

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Three Grosz Paintings – Grosz Heirs v. Museum of Modern Art

Three Grosz Paintings – Grosz Heirs v. Museum of Modern Art

In April of 2009, after a decade-long search for artworks lost during Nazi persecution, George Grosz’s legal heirs brought action against the Museum of Modern Art, seeking declaration of title and replevin as to three of the artist’s paintings in the Museum’s possession, and requesting damages for their unlawful conversion. Holding that the action was time-barred by the statute of limitations, the District Court granted the museum’s motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York affirmed the order on appeal, and the United States Supreme Court denied the Heirs’ writ of certiorari.

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Trois tableaux spoliés – Héritiers Oppenheimer, van Doorn, Soepkez et France

Trois tableaux spoliés – Héritiers Oppenheimer, van Doorn, Soepkez et France

Le 11 mars 2014, Aurélie Filippetti, Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication du gouvernement français, a officiellement restitué aux ayants-droit des trois familles qui avaient été spoliées par les Nazis (Oppenheimer, van Doorn et Soepkez) trois tableaux qui avaient été classés « Musées Nationaux Récupération ».

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Two Dürer Paintings – Kunstsammlungen Zu Weimar v. Elicofon

Two Dürer Paintings – Kunstsammlungen Zu Weimar v. Elicofon

In 1945, two portraits by Albrecht Dürer were stolen from the collection of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar. Stored for safekeeping in the Schwarburg Castle during the Second World War, the paintings disappeared during the time that American troops occupied the Castle.

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Two Lithographs of the Glaser Collection – Glaser Heirs and Kunstmuseum Basel

Two Lithographs of the Glaser Collection –  Glaser Heirs and Kunstmuseum Basel

In 1933, the Kunstmuseum Basel purchased about 200 drawings and prints at the Max Perl auction in Berlin. These works belonged to Curt Glaser, a Jewish art collector and director of the Art Library in Berlin. In 2004, the Glaser heirs requested the Kunstmuseum to return two artworks by Edvard Munch, but the Museum refused. Following negociations, the Kunstmuseum Basel and the heirs of Curt Glaser reached a seemingly “just and fair solution”.

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Two Schiele Paintings – Grunbaum Heirs v. Richard Nagy

Two Schiele Paintings – Grunbaum Heirs v. Richard Nagy

In 1938, the Nazis expropriated the art collection of Fritz Grunbaum while he was detained in Dachau concentration camp. In 2016, the Grunbaum heirs filed suit against Richard Nagy, the art dealer in possession of two of the paintings by Schiele that formed part of Fritz Grunbaum’s collection (“Woman in a Black Pinafore” and “Woman Hiding Her Face”). Eventually, the New York’s Supreme Court directed Nagy to return the artworks to the Grunbaum heirs.

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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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Vallée de la Stour – Héritiers Jaffé et La Chaux-de-Fonds

Vallée de la Stour – Héritiers Jaffé et La Chaux-de-Fonds

En 2006, la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds reçoit une demande de restitution pour le tableau « La Vallée de la Stour » de John Constable exposé au Musée des beaux-arts de La Chaux-de-Fonds. Le requérant représente les ayants droit héritiers de John et Anna Jaffé, dont les biens, y compris ce tableau, ont été spoliés par les Nazis durant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Après avoir d’abord refusé, la Ville accepte de restituer le tableau à l’automne 2017 suite à une procédure de conciliation judiciaire. Le Tableau est restitué aux héritiers le 12 mars 2018.

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View of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – Mauthner Heirs v. Switzerland

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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View of the Asylum and Chapel at St. Rémy – Mauthner Heirs v. Elizabeth Taylor

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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Warehouse Fire – Gillian Ayres et al. and Momart

Warehouse Fire – Gillian Ayres et al. and Momart

One of the most significant cases in Great Britain in the recent years concerns the Momart Warehouse Fire, where a warehouse owned by Momart burned down in 2004 causing the destruction of a great amount of artworks by renowned British artists (the Brit Art movement). Following the filing of a class action, Momart decided to mediate the case and to settle by a secret payout.

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Young Couple in a Landscape – Feldmann Heirs and British Museum

Young Couple in a Landscape – Feldmann Heirs and British Museum

Czech-Jewish Arthur Feldmann’s collection of drawings, including “Young Couple in a Landscape”, was illegally seized and liquidated by the Gestapo in 1939. The painting was later acquired by the collector Edmund Schilling in the 1960s, who donated it to the British Museum in 1997. Uri Peled, Feldmann’s grandson, made a claim to the drawing a few years later.

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