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13 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Boston Museum of Fine Arts

13 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Boston Museum of Fine Arts

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

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14 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Cleveland Museum of Art

14 Archaeological Objects – 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 archaeological objects 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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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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89 Moche Archaeological Objects – Peru v. Johnson

89 Moche Archaeological Objects – Peru v. Johnson

After the discovery of the Moche site of Sipán (Peru) in the mid-eighties, many archaeological 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 archaeological objects remained in Johnson’s possession.

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Ancient Coins – Ancient Coin Collectors Guild v. United States

Ancient Coins –  Ancient Coin Collectors Guild v. United States

In an attempt to challenge import regulations in force in the United States (US), the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) imported into the US 23 ancient coins, which were seized by customs officials. The case was litigated from 2007 to 2019, with courts consistently deciding in favour of the US Government and the import restrictions remaining in place.

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Balangiga Bells – Philippines and United States

Balangiga Bells –  Philippines and United States

The Balangiga Bells were removed in 1901 from the parish church of San Lorenzo de Martir in Balangiga, Eastern Samar, in the Philippines, by soldiers of the United States Armed Forces. The three bells returned to the Philippines in 2018 following the amendment of the law of the United States that originally prevented their return.

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Biccherna Panel – Anonymous Heirs and British Library

Biccherna Panel – Anonymous Heirs and British Library

In 2013, the British Library was contacted by the heirs of A.S. Drey, a Munich firm whose assets were sold off by Nazis in 1936. The heirs requested the return of the “Biccherna Panel” and lodged a claim with the UK Spoliation Advisory Panel, which found in favour of the claimants. However, following negotiations, the heirs accepted compensation in lieu of return, allowing the Biccherna Panel to remain in the British Library.

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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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Collection Varenne – Héritiers Varenne et Ville de Genève

Collection Varenne –  Héritiers Varenne et Ville de Genève

En 2008, un accord est conclu entre la Ville de Genève et les héritiers Varenne portant sur la collection « Varenne ». La Ville de Genève renonce à la donation « Varenne » initiale en échange notamment de CHF 30.000.000.

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Die Grosse Seestrasse in Wannsee – X. v. Switzerland

Die Grosse Seestrasse in Wannsee – X. v. Switzerland

The painting “Die Grosse Seestrasse in Wannsee” was bought in 1948 by François de Diesbach. After de Diesbach’s death, the painting was forgotten within the Swiss embassy. When the Swiss embassy decided to donate the painting to the Liebermann Villa, a distant relative of de Diesbach seized a Swiss court and claimed ownership over the painting. The High Court of the Canton of Bern ultimately held that the Swiss Confederation had acquired ownership over the painting.

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Euphronios Krater and Other Archaeological Objects – Italy and Metropolitan Museum of Art

Euphronios Krater and Other Archaeological Objects – Italy and Metropolitan Museum of Art

In February 2006, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) of New York entered into a landmark agreement with which the ownership title to the Euphronios Krater and other archaeological artefacts was transferred to the Italian Government.

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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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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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Jiroft Collection – Iran v. Barakat Galleries

Jiroft Collection – Iran v. Barakat Galleries

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran sued the London-based Barakat Galleries seeking the restitution of a collection of eighteen carved jars, bowls and cups which had been illicitly excavated in the Jiroft region, in Southeast Iran, and subsequently exported abroad. The Court of Appeal, overruling the trial court decision, held that the relevant laws of Iran were sufficiently clear to vest ownership title and an immediate right of possession of the relics in the Iranian State.

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Ka Nefer Nefer Mask – United States v. Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer

Ka Nefer Nefer Mask – United States v. Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer

On July 28, 2014, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request of the United States Government to take further legal action regarding the St. Louis Art Museum’s ownership of the 3200 year old Egyptian Ka Nefer Nefer funerary mask.

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La Bergère – Meyer Heirs and Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

La Bergère – Meyer Heirs and Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

Raoul Meyer’s art collection, which included Camille Pissarro’s painting “La bergère rentrant des moutons”, was looted by Nazi troops during the occupation of France in early 1940s. Decades later, Meyer’s daughter and heir, Léone Meyer, discovered the painting at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, and initiated a lawsuit in the United States seeking its return. After a three-year litigation, the two sides reached a settlement in 2016.

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La cueillette de Pissarro – Héritiers Simon Bauer c. Bruce et Robbi Toll

La cueillette de Pissarro – Héritiers Simon Bauer c. Bruce et Robbi Toll

Les héritiers de Simon Bauer, juif déporté dont la collection avait été confisquée sous le régime nazi, profitent de la présence du tableau de Pissarro « La cueillette » en France dans le cadre d’une exposition pour en demander la restitution. Le Tribunal de grande instance de Paris ordonne la restitution de la toile le 7 novembre 2017. La Cour d’appel a confirmé cette décision le 2 octobre 2018.

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Le Grand Pont – Weinmann Heirs and Yale University Art Gallery

Le Grand Pont – Weinmann Heirs and Yale University Art Gallery

The painting “Le Grand Pont”, by Gustave Courbet, was owned by Josephine Weinmann and her family, but after they were forced to flee Germany from Nazi persecution, the painting was purchased by Herbert Schaefer, a Nazi militant. When Schaefer later loaned the painting to the Yale University Art Gallery, Weinmann’s heirs sued for its return.

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Odalisque Painting – Paul Rosenberg Heirs and Seattle Art Museum

Odalisque Painting – Paul Rosenberg Heirs and Seattle Art Museum

In June 1999, the Seattle Art Museum returned the painting Oriental Woman Seated on Floor (also known as Odalisque), by Henri Matisse, to the heirs of Paul Rosenberg. The painting was donated to the museum in 1991 by the Bloedel family.

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Pièces d’or géantes – Inde c. Crédit Agricole Indosuez SA

Pièces d’or géantes –  Inde c. Crédit Agricole Indosuez SA

Deux pièces d’or géantes anciennes d’une valeur exceptionnelle, tant d’un point de vue économique que culturel, sont mises en gage auprès d’une Banque à Genève par le petit-fils de l’ancien Nizam de la Principauté d’Hyderabad. L’Inde introduit une action auprès des tribunaux genevois dans le but d’en obtenir la restitution.

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