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Three Nok and Sokoto Sculptures – Nigeria and France

Three Nok and Sokoto Sculptures – Nigeria and France

The French government bought three Nok and Sokoto sculptures from a private dealer in 1998. Soon after it obtained the consent of Nigeria on the acquisition, two of these sculptures were exhibited in the newly opened Pavillon des Sessions of the Louvre Museum.

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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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Troy Gold – Turkey and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Troy Gold – Turkey and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

In September 2012, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology decided to loan indefinitely to Turkey a collection of antique jewelry that the Museum had acquired in 1966. The collection was probably illicitly excavated in Troy, a city in Northwest Turkey. In return, Turkey agreed to provide the Museum important loans and further collaboration in the field of archaeology.

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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 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 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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Utimut Process – Denmark and Greenland

Utimut Process – Denmark and Greenland

A very elaborate cooperation between the National Museum of Denmark and the Greenland National Museum and Archives (“Utimut” process) was monitored by a specially nominated committee and resulted in the return of 35,000 artefacts in 1984. Extensive cooperational efforts were stimulated by the return of 204 watercolour paintings from Denmark to Greenland two years earlier. All these cultural objects were previously transferred to Denmark during the colonial domination of Greenland.

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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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Venus of Cyrene – Italy and Libya

Venus of Cyrene – Italy and Libya

In 1913, Italian soldiers deployed at Cyrene, Libya, found a headless marble sculpture, commonly known today as the “Venus of Cyrene”. In 1915, the statue was shipped to Italy, where it was placed on display in the Museo Nazionale delle Terme of Rome.

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Victorious Youth – Italy v. J. Paul Getty Museum

Victorious Youth – Italy v. J. Paul Getty Museum

The “Victorious Youth” – a life-size bronze statue created sometime between the 4th and 2nd century BC – is at the centre of an ongoing dispute between Italy and the J. Paul Getty Museum. This statue was discovered in 1964, caught up in the nets of a fishing boat working out of the port of Fano on the Adriatic coast of Italy.

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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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Wasco Sally Bag – American dealer and Paul Cary and the Yakama Nation Museum

Wasco Sally Bag – American dealer and Paul Cary and the Yakama Nation Museum

In 2007, Paul Cary acquired a Wasco Sally bag, an object from the Native American group, the Yakama Nation, from an American dealer. When Paul Cary learned that the bag was stolen from the Yakama Nation Museum, he returned it to the dealer and informed the museum. Subsequent negotiations initiated between the museum and the dealer would have remained unfruitful, if it was not for the involvement of Paul Cary. He offered the dealer financial compensation for half of his losses should he return the bag to the museum. Moreover, he would attempt to obtain the financing of the second half from the Yakama tribe. The parties agreed.

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Waurà Indians Collection – Museum der Kulturen Basel, Penteado Coelho Heirs and Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia Universidade de São Paulo, Waurà Indians

Waurà Indians Collection – Museum der Kulturen Basel, Penteado Coelho Heirs and Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia Universidade de São Paulo, Waurà Indians

Vera Penteado Coelho, a Brazilian ethnologist, bequeathed to the Museum der Kulturen Basel her collection of Waurà cultural objects. Following opposition from the Waurà Indians and the Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia Universidade de São Paulo, the Basel Museum entered into negotiations to allow the collection to remain in Brazil. Eight years later, in 2008, the collection was donated to the São Paulo Museum.

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Weary Herakles – Turkey and Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Weary Herakles – Turkey and Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The “Weary Herakles” is a Roman marble statue that was excavated in 1980 in Perge, Turkey. In 1981, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston acquired a half-interest in the upper part of the sculpture, while the other half-interest was owned by collectors Leon Levy and Shelby White.

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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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