Looted art

Looted Gilgamesh tablet returned to Iraq

The ancient cuneiform, once fated to be displayed at the Museum of the Bible, was sold by Christie’s for $1.7m to the owners of the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby

Looted 2,700-year-old bricks—discovered in Swiss warehouse—are returned to Iran

Before the discovery of the more than 50 painted blocks, “the richness of Mannaean civilisation had not been appreciated”, expert says

Exhibition follows the complex journeys of Nazi-looted art

Stories of how works by Matisse, Cézanne, Chagall and others moved around during Second World War are told at New York's Jewish Museum

How do you spot a looted antique? Germany brings in team of experts to help

Government has established €600,000 three-year pilot project called NEXUD to combat illegal trade in antiquities

When the US was accused of ‘plundering’ Berlin’s museums: new show reveals murky history

An exhibition opening at the Cincinnati Art Museum reveals how 14 major museums found themselves caught up in a “morally dubious” ­tour of Germany's art treasures after the Second World War

Looted Maqdala objects—pulled from rural English auction at the last minute—will be returned to Ethiopia

Busby auction house confirms it has "negotiated a settlement" after Ethiopian officials requested the return of items stolen by British troops in a brutal 1868 battle

Will the Queen return her Benin bronze? How the African treasure was looted not once, but twice

The 17th-century oba head was plucked from the Nigerian National Museum and given to Elizabeth II as a thank-you gift

Lawnews

French heir renounces title to Nazi-looted Pissarro painting found in Oklahoma

The Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep will return this summer to the University of Oklahoma, which will seek a French partner for future exchanges

Lootnews

Looted Libyan sculpture seized at Heathrow Airport heads back home with help from the British Museum

The funerary piece was illicitly excavated from the ancient city of Cyrene which is under threat from property developers

Scottish university claims Benin bronze bought for £750 is worth £500,000—but is that now really the case?

Aberdeen University is returning its looted 18th-century oba head to the Nigerian federal government

Global survey: where in the world are the Benin bronzes?

Around 160 institutions hold looted Benin artefacts, but how many are prepared to give them back? We asked museums in five countries for their position on restitution

'We've had a lot of museums reaching out': how Nigeria is getting ready to receive the world’s Benin bronzes

With institutions across the globe rethinking their views on restitution, the African country’s focus is now on making a home for its heritage

Looted artcomment

Is there loot lurking in your collection? Find out—before someone else does

Do your research and and check whether you unwittingly own stolen works, otherwise it could tarnish your reputation

London’s Horniman Museum—home to 15 Benin bronzes—announces new ‘transparent procedures’ for looted object requests

South London museum has released new policies on restitution but says it will need to seek legal advice about the right to return artefacts

German Nazi-looted art panel recommends return of Franz Marc’s Foxes to heirs of Jewish banker

The decision on whether to return the painting, which hangs in Dusseldorf’s Kunstpalast, will be made by the city assembly in April

Restitutioninterview

Why African voices are crucial to the debate over the return of colonial loot

Senegalese art historian El Hadji Malick Ndiaye says discussions and decisions about the restitution of African artefacts cannot be dictated by the West

Benin bronzes: looted treasures will return to Nigeria at last

Plus, the newly discovered Van Gogh is sold and artist Rana Begum on Tess Jaray

Hosted by Ben Luke and Aimee Dawson. with guest speakers Catherine Hickley and Martin Bailey. Produced by Julia Michalska, David Clack and Henrietta Bentall

Hobby Lobby claims Israeli collector Joseph David Hackmey consigned allegedly looted Gilgamesh tablet to Christie's

The arts and crafts chain has amended its complaint regarding the ancient tablet, which it bought for at auction for $1.67m in 2014. It was seized by US authorities in 2019

US Supreme Court sides with Germany in Guelph Treasure case

In a unanimous opinion, it found the country cannot be sued for taking property from its own citizens, making it harder for the heirs of some Holocaust victims to recover art through the US justice system

Netherlands takes lead in Europe’s efforts to return artefacts to former colonies

The Dutch government adopts a committee’s “radical” guidelines, putting it at the forefront of European efforts to return colonial-era museum acquisitions

In the battle against antiquities trafficking, Germany develops app to identify looted cultural heritage

Government-funded image-recognition software will enable law enforcers to work with international organisations

French Senate and government lock horns on restitution

Deputies rejected senators' proposal for a national council to advise the government on future restitution claims

Can mediation save a sharing settlement over Nazi-looted Pissarro?

A Paris court has ordered Léone-Noëlle Meyer and the University of Oklahoma to return to the negotiating table

Hunt still on for a Van Gogh self-portrait lost deep in a salt mine during the Second World War

The Magdeburg masterpiece may have been burned at the end of hostilities—but some believe it might have been looted and survive

a blog by Martin Bailey

Museum of the Bible returns hand-written gospels looted from Greece during the First World War

The Eikosiphoinissa Manuscript 220 was among hundreds of objects taken from the Kosinitza Monastery by Bulgarian separatist troops in 1917

New York authorities return ancient stele to Egypt

The object was seized on its way to an art fair last year and came from the same network that sold other looted antiquities to museums

Jewish collections looted by the Nazis to be examined and traced in new database

The Jewish Digital Cultural Recovery Project will begin with a pilot scheme focusing on the Old Masters collection of Adolphe Schloss, which was seized by the Gestapo

Ten most wanted antiquities: have you seen these missing artefacts?

The Antiquities Coalition releases a list of “infamous cases of cultural racketeering”

Man tries to take artefact from Louvre—just two weeks after being charged for the same crime at Quai Branly

Congolese activist Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza, fined €1,000 earlier this month, will go to court again later today

Black Lives Matter movement is speeding up repatriation efforts, leading French art historian says

Bénédicte Savoy—co-author of the Sarr-Savoy report that recommends France return its African artefacts—warns of "collective amnesia" over restitution debates that happened 40 years ago

Dutch government committee recommends return of colonial-era artefacts

The report calls for a new panel to advise the minister on repatriations and a new provenance research centre

Douglas Latchford's death reignites unresolved controversy over alleged smuggling of Cambodian antiquities

News of the death of dealer and expert in South East Asian art raises strong reactions and unanswered questions

Turin museum pays settlement to Jewish heirs for Renaissance Madonna that was looted by Nazis

Family of Gustav Arens also receive French government compensation for a Tintoretto painting and a Dutch landscape

American collector to sue France over restitution of $1.7m Pissarro painting

Real estate developer Bruce Toll claims compensation after French High court confirms return of Pissarro's Pea Harvest to heirs of collector Simon Bauer

Waning market for African artefacts? Controversial Benin bronze fails to sell at Christie's

Academics challenge the provenance of the Edo plaque as well as two Igbo alusi figures that sold under estimate for €212,500

Paris dealer who sold golden sarcophagus to New York’s Metropolitan Museum charged with fraud and money laundering

The work was returned to Egypt last year after officials were shown evidence it might have been looted during the Arab Spring in 2011

Facebook and Instagram ban trading of historical artefacts

Heritage group Athar were part of a campaign highlighting the social media giants' “black market in antiquities”

Historic Tunisian items withdrawn from Paris auction after heritage body claims works left country illegally

More than 100 objects once belonging to the Tunisian politician Habib Djellouli, including an ancient Quran, are at the centre of the controversy

Hobby Lobby sues Christie’s for selling it an antiquity authorities say was looted

The auction house knew that the provenance of an ancient cuneiform tablet inscribed with the Epic of Gilgamesh was made up, lawsuit claims

Looted Benin treasures to go online in international project led by Hamburg museum

Project is backed by the Ernst von Siemens art foundation, which seeks “a more factual focus to the discussions about restitution”

'We want to be part of the solution': UK museum says it is open to discussing fate of Benin bronze after prince demands its return

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery wants to work in tandem with the Benin Dialogue Group, which is made up of institutions that hold the majority of the pieces

Aggressive seizures by police at Brafa leave dealers feeling ‘assaulted’

Authorities brazenly took 34 artefacts during public opening hours at the Brussels fair

India asks Ashmolean Museum to return 15th-century bronze idol believed stolen from temple

Independent scholar uncovers questionable provenance for the sculpture that the Oxford institution bought from Sotheby's in 1967

Lootnews

Looted ancient temple sculpture—seized by UK police—will go home to Afghanistan

British Museum and Art Loss Register collaborate over recovery of ancient bull decoration that was consigned to an online auction

Three Nazi-looted works bought by Gurlitt return to Jewish collector’s heirs

Two paintings by Jean-Louis Forain were discovered in Cornelius Gurlitt’s trove; the third work, by Constantin Guys, was restituted by another family member

George Soros's Open Society Foundations pledges $15m to help Africa recover looted heritage

Paid over four years, it will support efforts made by museums, grassroots-organisations and governments

Abuse of diplomatic privilege? How missing art has been linked to embassy officials

Recent cases involving stolen art have raised questions over the behaviour of diplomats

Looted coffin acquired by Metropolitan Museum is headed back to Egypt

US and Egyptian officials presided over handover at a repatriation ceremony in New York

German Nazi loot panel divided on Max Stern painting—but returns it to his heirs anyway

For first time, advisory team stipulates that work must not be sold for ten years in case evidence emerges that contradicts its ruling

Stolen artefacts from 'prolific art smuggler' returned to India

Objects are reportedly linked to antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor who is facing criminal charges in the US

US authorities file criminal charges against antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor and seven others

The government’s complaint outlines a massive alleged smuggling ring involving other dealers, art restorers and associates who helped create false provenances for looted objects

Mass theft of art from East German citizens revealed in new report

Study reveals that up to 8% of museum acquisitions were looted from private citizens

Court case over three Derain paintings will test France's promise to speed up Nazi-era claims

Grandchildren of art dealer René Gimpel accuse French culture ministry of blocking restitution of works hanging in state museums

Lawnews

US Supreme Court declines to hear appeal on Nazi-looted art

Norton Simon Museum can keep two Cranach masterpieces

Leaderscomment

Gilded coffin gives Met a golden opportunity

To prevent similar high-profile losses in the future, the Met should hire a permanent, full-time provenance curator

Heirs of Baron Herzog continue battle for Nazi-looted art collection despite US Supreme Court dismissal

Decades-long case to reclaim works held in Hungary’s museums will now go through US District Court