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2 Jan, 2019 14:57

Museum call for return of Nazi-looted art is latest in line of repatriation pleas

Museum call for return of Nazi-looted art is latest in line of repatriation pleas

An Italian museum has demanded a German family return an 18th century Dutch oil painting stolen by Nazi soldiers in 1944.

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, appealed to Berlin on Monday for help in retrieving the ‘Vase of Flowers’ oil painting by Dutch artist Jan van Huysum.

In a public appeal the museum’s German director Eike Schmidt said the painting was stolen by Nazi soldiers and is “currently held by a German family who, after all this time, has still not returned it to the museum despite many requests by the Italian state.”

This isn’t the first – and most definitely won’t be the last – time states have disputed over artwork looted by their predecessors in power. Last year alone saw some epic diplomatic efforts between Egypt, Britain, the US and France to repatriate ancient art and cultural treasures.

Also on rt.com ‘Temples to colonial theft’: Western museums should return looted artifacts to where they belong

Ivory Coast vs. France

In November 2018, Ivory Coast asked France to return about a hundred “masterpieces” after Paris said they were willing to return artifacts stolen from Africa during the colonial period. The request sparked an EU-wide debate over international policy regarding state-owned artwork.

Egypt vs. The World

Egypt has repeatedly asked museums around the world to return priceless ancient treasures. Once of its most recent appeals was to the British Museum to return the Rosetta Stone, a key instrument in deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics which was stolen more than 200 years ago.


Easter Island vs. Britain

Easter Island begged the British Museum to return one of its most spiritually important statues in 2018. The four-tonne Hoa Hakananai’a statue has been held by the museum for 150 years. It is a crucial piece of the Chilean island’s stone monoliths, as each of the figures represent tribal leaders or deified ancestors.

Also on rt.com ‘Not everything was looted’: British Museum faces Twitter takedown over defense of collection origin

Greece vs. Germany

Last year a German museum was asked to give back several marble sculptures taken from Greece’s famous Parthenon temple in the early 19th century, including a 2,400-year-old three-quarter head. The University of Wurzburg’s Martin von Wagner Museum has repeatedly declined to return the piece.

Thailand vs. The US

Thailand has attempted to reclaim 23 bronze and stone sculptures held at several US museums including the Met in New York City and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The Thai government claims the artifacts were illegally removed from temples and archeological sites.

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