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Displaying items by tag: world war II

A watch given to Sir Winston Churchill to celebrate victory in the Second World War, proclaiming him a “happy warrior” and likening him to St George, is to be sold at auction for up to £100,000.

The watch, commissioned by a group of “prominent Swiss citizens”, was one of four given to leaders including Charles de Gaulle, Joseph Stalin and Harry S. Truman, to commemorate VE Day.

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Five paintings missing since World War II are being returned to collections in Germany at the behest of the heirs of their American acquirers.

The paintings, including three won by an American GI in a poker game, were turned over to the German government on Tuesday. Their return was organized by the State Department and the Monuments Men Foundation, which promotes the work of those who protected cultural works during the war and seeks to track down and repatriate objects that went missing.

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The Dutch royal family has said it will return a painting from its collection thought to have been looted by the Nazis during World War Two. The painting, by Joris van der Haagen, had been bought by Queen Juliana from a Dutch art dealer in 1960.

The palace said an investigation looked at tens of thousands of art works in the House of Orange's collection. Officials have contacted the heirs of the original owner, who was not named, to arrange its return.

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A rare, 450-year-old astrological compendium the Toledo Museum of Art purchased for $6,500 in 1954 is being returned to its rightful owner in Germany after documentation has shown it was probably one of many pieces of German art stolen after World War II.

The device, called an astrolabe, was used to tell time and make astronomical calculations less than 50 years after Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition circumnavigated the globe by sea for the first time, the Toledo Museum of Art said in a statement released this afternoon.

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German government-appointed experts on Friday gave the green light to the restitution of one of the most valuable artworks in the trove of late collector Cornelius Gurlitt to its American owners.

Art experts mandated by Berlin to comb Mr. Gurlitt's collection for Nazi loot said that "Two Riders on the Beach," a 1901 Max Liebermann painting, was looted during World War II and rightfully belonged to the heirs of David Friedmann, a German-Jewish collector who died in the early 1940s. The family is currently suing the Bavarian government for its return.

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Since the discovery of a long-hidden trove of masterworks in Germany last year, advocates have sought to shine a spotlight on looted artworks hiding in plain sight.

In other words, those hanging on the walls of Europe’s great museums.

Enter France, known as the art attic of Europe before World War II and where tens of thousands of works were taken from Jewish families by the occupying Nazis. Today, more than 2,000 pieces returned to France after the war — including canvases by Claude Monet, Peter Paul Rubens and Max Ernst — remain in the custody of the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and other celebrated French institutions.

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The Crocker Museum served as a storage space for precious pieces of artwork for Japanese families during WWII.

The museum says it recently discovered the it kept precious items for several families sent away to relocation camps, and is now trying to track down those families.

Registrar John Caswell says he recently discovered in old archived documents that the Crocker Museum once served as storage space for Japanese-American families forced into war relocation camps back in 1942.

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Another volume of Adolf Hitler’s notorious photo albums of looted Nazi art is set to be given to the National Archives on May 8 to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, the Archives said Thursday.

The album, which contains photographs of looted paintings and other cultural items, is being donated to the Archives by the Monuments Men Foundation, an organization dedicated to the story of the lost art and the men who helped recover it.

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The Tate Gallery in London has agreed to return John Constable’s “Beaching a Boat, Brighton” to the heirs of a Jewish Hungarian art collector. The painting, which is listed on the University of Oxford’s looted art registry, was stolen from Baron Ferenc Hatvany while he was in hiding during World War II. Documents show that Hatvany acquired the Constable painting in 1908 at an auction in Paris.

The Tate received “Beaching a Boat, Brighton” in 1986 from a donor identified as Mrs. P.M. Rainsford, who had acquired the work in 1962. After the Tate received the painting, it failed to make its complete provenance public. Two years ago, Hatvany’s heirs learned that the Constable painting was in the Tate’s collection and in 2013, they formally submitted a claim to the Spoliation Advisory Panel, which was established by the British government to settle looting claims on artworks in public collections. The panel criticized the Tate for failing to thoroughly investigate the painting’s provenance.

The Tate released a statement saying that it was “grateful for the care with which the Panel has examined the evidence and is pleased to follow the conclusions of the report...Tate will therefore recommend to its Trustees, when they next meet in May, that the work be returned to the claimants.”


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Leone Meyer, the daughter of Raoul Meyer, a Jewish businessman who lived in Paris during the Nazi occupation, is suing Oklahoma University and its Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art over Camille Pissarro’s painting ‘Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep.’ Meyer claims that the work, which resides in the museum’s collection, was stolen from her father by the Nazis.

Before Paris fell under Nazi control, Raoul Meyer assembled a large collection of French Impressionist works that were later seized during the occupation. After World War II ended, Raoul spent years trying to reassemble his comprehensive collection. In 1953, he sued Christoph Bernoulli, a Swiss art dealer and then-owner of the Pissarro painting. The case was dismissed due to a statute of limitations on such cases and ‘Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep’ eventually made its way to an art gallery in New York where it was purchased by the oil magnate, Aaron Weitzenhoffer and his wife, Clara. Following Clara’s death in 2000, the painting was donated to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The Weitzenhoffers’ son claims that his parents were unaware of the painting's troubled provenance.

So far, the university has refused to return the work to Meyer, citing the previous court ruling in Switzerland.

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