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13 Antiquities – Italy and Boston Museum of Fine Arts

13 Antiquities – Italy and Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Between 1971 and 1999, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts acquired a number of ancient artworks. Italy suspected that such antiquities had been excavated clandestinely in Italian territory and illegally exported.

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14 Antiquities – Italy and Cleveland Museum of Art

14 Antiquities – Italy and Cleveland Museum of Art

On 19 November 2008, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities and the Cleveland Museum of Art signed an agreement concerning 14 antiquities in the museum’s collection. This agreement provides for the return to Italy of the artworks in exchange for loans of “a similar number of works of equal aesthetic and historical significance”.

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14 Artworks – Malewicz Heirs and City of Amsterdam

14 Artworks – Malewicz Heirs and City of Amsterdam

In 2003, 14 works of art by the Russian artist Kazimir Malewicz were exported to the United States by the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam to be part of a temporary exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Menil Collection in Houston. Shortly before the end of the loans, the heirs of Malewicz brought an action against the City of Amsterdam seeking to recover the value of the artworks or, in the alternative, the artworks themselves.

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15 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Princeton University Art Museum

15 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Princeton University Art Museum

The Italian Government and the Princeton University Art Museum signed an agreement on 30 October 2007 that resolved the question of ownership of 15 archaeological objects in the Museum’s collection. This accord was the culmination of negotiations that were initiated by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities following the discovery of substantial evidence demonstrating the illicit provenance of the requested antiquities.

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17 Tasmanian Human Remains – Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and Natural History Museum London

17 Tasmanian Human Remains –  Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and Natural History Museum London

Since the 1980s, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has made several requests to the Londoner Natural History Museum for the return of 17 Aboriginal human remains held in the collection of the Museum. When their dispute was brought to the Londoner High Court, the court’s judge suggested proceeding by mediation. The dispute was ultimately settled by a mediated agreement, which provided for the dismissal of the legal proceedings and for the repatriation of the remains to Tasmania.

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20 Skulls – Namibia and Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

20 Skulls – Namibia and Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

Immediately after proclaiming its independence, Namibia petitioned Germany to return several skulls of deceased members of Herero and Nama communities. The skulls had been brought to Germany after the mass killings committed by German authorities between 1904 and 1908 to quell the uprising against the colonial occupation. At the time of the restitution claim, the skulls were being held at the Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin. The Charité and German authorities agreed to conduct the necessary research on the remains and to return them to Namibia.

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30 Vigango – Denver Museum of Nature and Science et Kenya

30 Vigango – Denver Museum of Nature and Science et Kenya

Le 19 février 2014, le Denver Museum of Nature and Science a remis 30 vigango – statues de bois gravées à la mémoire des ancêtres des Mijikenda – au gouvernement kenyan.

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89 Moche Artifacts – Peru v. Johnson

89 Moche Artifacts – Peru v. Johnson

After the discovery of the Moche site of Sipán (Peru) in the mid-eighties, many objects were looted and smuggled out of the country. In 1987, a smuggler who had been involved in the exportation of these objects to the United States contacted United States Customs agents and led to the eventual seizure of 89 Moche artifacts from Benjamin Johnson, a private collector. The government of Peru sued to retrieve the artifacts from Johnson. Peru’s claim was unsuccessful and the 89 artifacts remained in Johnson’s possession.

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200 Paintings – Goudstikker Heirs and the Netherlands

200 Paintings – Goudstikker Heirs and the Netherlands

The art collection of Jacques Goudstikker was acquired by the Nazi commander Hermann Göring under suspicious circumstances during the Second World War. A large part of the collection was recovered by the Allied Forces after the war and it was subsequently returned to the Netherlands where it was labelled “Dutch national property”. The first part of these items was bought back by Goudstikker’s wife under a settlement agreement of 1952. The Dutch Government returned the second part – 200 paintings – to Marei Von Saher (the only surviving heir of Jacques Goudstikker) in 2006 based on a recommendation of the Dutch Restitution Committee.

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3000 Archeological Objects – China and Two British Dealers

3000 Archeological Objects – China and Two British Dealers

On 10 February 1998, the Chinese government and two British dealers signed an out-of-court agreement that resolved the question of ownership of over 3000 archaeological objects. Most probably these were transferred to the United Kingdom through illegal excavation and trafficking.

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Achaemenid Limestone Relief – Iran v. Berend

Achaemenid Limestone Relief – Iran v. Berend

In 2005, the French collector Denyse Berend consigned a limestone fragment, known as the Achaemenid Relief, for auction in London. The fragment had been part of her collection since 1974. When the Republic of Iran was given notice about the forthcoming sale, it filed suit against the collector at the High Court of Justice in London, alleging that the fragment had been illicitly removed from its territory in the 1930s. The sale was temporarily halted by an injunction of the court. Nevertheless, Iran’s ownership claim was eventually dismissed.

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Adoration of the Magi – Gentili di Giuseppe Heirs and Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Adoration of the Magi – Gentili di Giuseppe Heirs and Museum of Fine Arts Boston

In February 2000, the heirs of the renowned Jewish art collector Federico Gentili di Giuseppe initiated negotiations with the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Boston on the restitution of the painting “Adoration of the Magi”, by Corrado Giaquinto. The painting had been sold at an auction in 1941. In October 2000, the heirs reached a part purchase-part donation agreement with the MFA Boston.

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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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Aidonia Treasure – Greece and Ward Gallery

A collection of golden Mycenaean jewellery (the Aidonia Treasure) was acquired by the Ward Gallery of New York in early 1993. Before proceeding with the purchase the Gallery made enquiries in various Mediterranean States, including Greece, to find out whether the treasure was stolen. Greece responded in the negative, but it later sued the Gallery seeking restitution.

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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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Auschwitz Suitcase – Pierre Lévi Heirs and Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Oswiecim and Shoah Memorial Museum Paris

Auschwitz Suitcase – Pierre Lévi Heirs and Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Oswiecim and Shoah Memorial Museum Paris

After an initial unsuccessful attempt to negotiate the dispute regarding a suitcase between the heirs of the Holocaust victim Pierre Lévi and the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, the heirs decided to file a restitution claim against the Museum. The parties eventually settled with the help of the Shoah Memorial Museum in Paris and agreed to a long-term loan of the suitcase at the Shoah Memorial Museum.

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Ayuba Suleiman Diallo – Qatar Museums Authority and the United Kingdom

Ayuba Suleiman Diallo – Qatar Museums Authority and the United Kingdom

The Qatar Museum’s Authority (QMA) purchased at Christie’s the painting “Ayuba Suleiman Diallo” by Hoare of Bath that was subsequently hit with a temporary export bar in the United Kingdom. The export suspension gave any interested British museum the opportunity to buy the painting within a lapse of time. The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London made a firm purchase offer that was refused by the QMA...

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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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Banksy Mural – Bioresource, Inc. and 555 Nonprofit Studio/Gallery

Banksy Mural – Bioresource, Inc. and 555 Nonprofit Studio/Gallery

Artists from the 555 Nonprofit Studio/Gallery removed an endangered mural painting by the graffiti artist Banksy from a derelict site in Detroit. The owner of the site, Bioresource, Inc. subsequently filed suit with the Wayne County Circuit Court requesting the wall art’s restitution. The parties finally settled their dispute as the Company agreed to donate the mural to the Gallery, who paid the Company a symbolic amount.

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Bath of Bathsheba – Italy and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Bath of Bathsheba – Italy and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

The painting “The Bath of Bathsheba”, by Jacopo Zucchi, was looted in 1945 from the Italian Embassy in Berlin, where it was on loan from the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica of Rome. In 1965, it was acquired by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

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