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Pre 1970 restitution claims/demandes de restitution pre 1970

25 Objets d’art précolombien – Lempertz c. Etat de Rhénanie-du-Nord-Westphalie

25 Objets d’art précolombien – Lempertz c. Etat de Rhénanie-du-Nord-Westphalie

La maison de vente aux enchères Lempertz met en vente des objets d’art précolombien. A la demande du Mexique, qui estime que 25 de ces biens appartiennent à son patrimoine culturel, l’Etat de Rhénanie-du-Nord Westphalie rend une ordonnance de saisie conservatoire en vue du retour de 25 biens au Mexique. Saisis par Lempertz, les tribunaux allemands jugent que faute d’effet rétroactif de la Convention UNESCO de 1970 et de sa loi allemande d’application, les conditions pour un retour ne sont pas réunies. Les objets sont transférés à leurs acquéreurs.

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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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Bogazköy Sphinx – Turkey and Germany

Bogazköy Sphinx – Turkey and Germany

In 2011, Germany decided to conclude the long running dispute concerning the “Boğazköy Sphinx” by voluntarily transferring to the Turkish Government the title of the sculpture.

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Canon Tables – Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America and J. Paul Getty Museum

Canon Tables – Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America and J. Paul Getty Museum

The Canon Tables of the Zeyt’un Gospels were illegally separated from the manuscript sometime between 1915-1923. Having discovered that the Tables had been stolen and were held at the J. Paul Getty Museum in California, the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church engaged in a legal battle with the Getty regarding the restitution of the Tables. After five years, the two sides reached a settlement in 2015.

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Chagall Gouache – Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Lubell

Chagall Gouache – Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Lubell

In 1993, the Guggenheim Foundation, Mrs. Rachel Lubell, and other interested parties reached a settlement regarding a Marc Chagall painting that had been stolen from the Museum and purchased by Mrs. Lubell almost thirty years prior. Though a trial court had originally held the Guggenheim’s suit seeking recovery was time-barred, the Appellate Division reversed the lower court’s decision and clarified New York’s “demand and refusal” rule. On remand, the parties settled just one day after the new trial began.

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Cloche de Shinagawa – Ville de Genève et Temple de Shinagawa

Cloche de Shinagawa –  Ville de Genève et Temple de Shinagawa

En 1930, la Ville de Genève décide de restituer une cloche du XVIIème siècle au Temple de Shinagawa (Japon), son lieu d’origine. En échange, le Temple cède une lanterne en granit de forme Zendoji. En 1991, le Temple cède à Genève une réplique de la cloche en signe de reconnaissance.

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Fresques de Casenoves – Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de la Ville de Genève et la France

Fresques de Casenoves – Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de la Ville de Genève et la France

Le 1er juillet 1997, le Musée d’art et d’histoire de la Ville de Genève et l'Etat français, representé par son Ministère de la culture, ont signé un accord portant sur le prêt de deux fragments des fresques de Casenoves (Christ en Majesté et Adoration des Mages). Le 19 mars 2003, le Conseil administratif de la Ville de Genève a décidé de transformer ce prêt en donation.

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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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Hopi Masks – Hopi Tribe v. Néret-Minet and Estimations & Ventes aux Enchères

Hopi Masks – Hopi Tribe v. Néret-Minet and Estimations & Ventes aux Enchères

Between 2013 and 2014, dozens of Hopi’s sacred objects were sold at auctions in Paris despite strong protests and legal actions launched by the Hopi tribe. These actions were unsuccessful because French judicial authorities denied legal standing to the Hopis and considered that the sales did not violate French law.

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Lydian Hoard – Turkey and Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lydian Hoard – Turkey and Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Lydian Hoard is a sixth-century B.C. collection of gold and silver objects which was clandestinely excavated in Turkey in the 1960s. It was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) of New York. A formal demand for its return was made by Turkey in 1986.

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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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Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory – Konowaloff v. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory – Konowaloff v. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ivan Morozov’s extensive art collection, which included the painting by Cézanne called Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory, was confiscated by the Bolsheviks and declared property of the state. Stephen Clark purchased Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory from the Second Museum of Western Art in 1933. Upon his death, he bequeathed the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pierre Konowaloff, Morozov’s heir, brought an action for restitution of the painting in the United States federal courts. His claim was unsuccessful and the Metropolitan Museum of Art retained the painting.

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Mandat signé par Jean Calvin - République et canton de Genève et Sotheby's

Mandat signé par Jean Calvin - République et canton de Genève et Sotheby's

En novembre 2016, il est porté à la connaissance de l’archiviste d’État de Genève qu’un document datant du XVIe siècle et volé probablement au XIXe siècle figure sur le catalogue de la prochaine vente aux enchères de Sotheby’s à New York. Un accord d’indemnisation est signé le 1er septembre 2017 entre Sotheby’s, le possesseur et deux intervenants privés. Le même jour, un accord distinct de restitution est signé entre la République et canton de Genève, Sotheby’s et le possesseur.

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Murals of Teotihuacán – Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and National Institute of Anthropology and History

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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Nataraja Idol – India and the Norton Simon Foundation

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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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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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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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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