Looting

News
Auctions

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

News
Antiquities

Former Louvre curator among five arrested in Paris in antiquities trafficking investigation

Case involves "hundreds of objects worth millions" looted from the Near and Middle East

News
Museums & Heritage

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”

News
Loot

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

News
The Year in Review 2019

From trafficked treasures to the ravages of climate change: the heritage headlines of 2019

We look back at the biggest stories of the year

Archive
Law

Italy sues for return of antique pottery which they claim to own under national law because they are objects of archaeological interest.

The US has filed a complaint in a federal district court to determine who owns 230 antiquities produced in ancient Italian pottery workshops

News
Conservation & Preservation

Getty plans sweeping $100m initiative to promote the world’s cultural heritage

Projects will range from exhibitions about the classical world to conservation and excavations and a book about “heritage and mass atrocities”

News
Looting

Over 18,000 cultural goods seized and 59 arrested in trafficking sting

Multi-national operation organised by Europol involved police forces from 29 countries

Archive
Nazi loot

Seattle Art Museum sues New York dealers Knoedler

The heirs of Parisian dealer Paul Rosenberg demand the return of a Matisse stolen during World War II

News
Looting

A 'missed opportunity'? US seeks to return painting looted by Nazis to Ukraine

Questions are being raised about how the work ended up in the US and why such a public seizure is being pursued now

News
Restitution

London museum returns emperor's hair—taken by a British officer as a war trophy—to Ethiopia

The two locks will be buried at the monastery where emperor Tewodros' body was interred

News
Politics

Double Jeopardy? US dealer fights extradition to Poland, for the second time

Alexander Khochinsky’s lawyer calls the country’s actions over a €10,000 looted painting “aggressive and disproportionate” and says his client will not get a fair trial in the “illiberal democracy”

News
Restitution

Met hands over an Egyptian coffin that it says was looted

Describing itself as a victim of fraud, museum says it cooperated with district attorney's investigation

News
Looting

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

News
Ukraine

Ivan the Terrible returns to Ukraine

19th-century oil painting, stolen during the Second World War, was found in the US

Comment
Art market

Will the UK be able to take part in antiquities busts after Brexit?

Nineteen of the accused in Operation Demetra face trial in December, while the alleged UK mastermind awaits extradition

News
Austria

Austria returns wrong Klimt to wrong family

Painting of apple trees is pulled from exhibition after admission that its restitution was a mistake

News
Art market

A record-setting $30.1m sale of an Assyrian relief at Christie's raises red flags

The 31 October sale has prompted calls for repatriation and criticism of the seller, highlighting the gap between art ethics and law

News
Looting

President Rouhani personally takes looted ancient relief back from New York to Tehran

Piece depicting a Persian soldier was seized last year at Tefaf New York

News
Law

Paris court orders US collector to turn over Pissarro painting

The work, seized by the pro-Nazi Vichy government, had been lent to an exhibition at the Musée Marmottan

News
Looting

Georgia returns still life painting looted by Stalin's Trophy Commission

Country's stance contrasts that of neighbouring Russia, which still holds around a million items of war booty looted from Germany

Review
Books

The tortuous story of Gustav Klimt’s Nazi-looted, 100ft-wide Beethoven Frieze uncovered

New book exploring work's provenance is a must-read for those interested in the contentious field of art restitution

News
Law

Norton Simon Museum can keep Nazi-looted Cranachs, US court rules

Decision should put decade-long legal battle between museum and heirs of art dealer Jacques Goudstikker "to rest"

News
Law

Claim on Guelph Treasure can go to trial in US federal court

Lawyers for the Prussian Cultural Foundation argued that it was not “genocide” when the objects were sold in 1935

News
Law

Art dealer sues Poland over its failed efforts to extradite him from the US

After offering to return a work looted by the Nazis in exchange for his family’s former real estate, Khochinsky was placed under house arrest in New York and faced a 10-year prison sentence in Poland

News
Restitution

Angola recovers six artefacts looted from museum during civil war

Dundo Museum's lost objects were traced by the Sindika Dokolo Foundation

News

German museum and auctioneer Im Kinsky tussle over looted glass goblet

Object was returned to consigner not museum from where it was looted at the end of Second World War

News
Looted art

Berlin’s Ethnological Museum returns Alaskan grave artefacts looted by explorer

The objects “do not belong in our museums”, says the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation

News
Looted art

Hamburg museum says its Benin bronzes could return to Nigeria—but not yet

Applied arts institution is showing the sculptures in a looted art exhibition

News
Restitution

Damning report says France must catch up, fast, in return of Nazi-era loot

Heritage expert calls for new government taskforce to guide provenance research and even rule on restitution cases

News
Restitution

German researchers trace Jewish newspaper mogul’s vast Nazi-looted art collection

The Mosse Art Research Project, a cooperation with the German government, identifies eight works and launches online database

News
Looting

Will the British Museum lend Nigeria the Benin bronzes?

Planned museum in Benin City offers safe environment for Western collections, the country says

News
Looting

Scotland Yard joins global crackdown on looted pharaonic antiquities

The initiative, which involves governments and the art world, will set up a public database of objects

News
Looting

V&A opens dialogue on looted Ethiopian treasures

Director pledges rethink on objects seized by British troops in 19th-century Africa

News
Art market

Tough new scrutiny by district attorney rattles New York antiquities trade

Will New York district attorney’s new unit clean up the antiquities market—or shut it down?

News
Law

Rhode Island School of Design denies claim on Picasso by Alphonse Kann heirs

Provenance research commissioned by the university has found that-while the work was once owned by the legendary collector-it was not looted by the Nazis

News
Antiquities & Archaeology

New York DA’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit starts the new year with double seizures

The newly formed team, led by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, has been cracking down on ancient art dealers and collectors

News
Auctions

Painting looted from Hitler withdrawn from auction in Cologne

Franz von Stuck’s portrait of two girls was due to be sold at Van Ham

News
Law

Appeals court allows heir to renew claim against Nahmad family over Modigliani painting

The convoluted case involves suspected Nazi loot, the Panama Papers leak and a shadowy shell company

Preview
Exhibitions

Cornelius Gurlitt’s art hoard finally gets first public showing

Organisers hope two shows will lead to restitution claims from victims of Nazi persecution

News

Looted Benin bronzes to be lent back to Nigeria

Pledge by European museums to set up “permanent display” of rotating loans in Benin City could pave way for restitution

News

The Met might return another ancient vase to Italy

A fourth-century BC terracotta krater was turned over to the DA’s office last week based on evidence it was looted

News

Dusseldorf museum pulls painting from show after Nazi loot claim

Owner says Andreas Achenbach’s Sicilian Landscape was bought in a “normal gallery transaction”

News
Law

Hobby Lobby agrees to pay $3m fine for Iraqi looted artefacts

Thousands of objects were falsely labelled and shipped to the arts-and-crafts company, according to prosecutors 

News

The Cleveland Museum of Art returns bust of emperor’s ‘bloodthirsty’ son to Italy

The sculpture is the 15th object the museum has repatriated after discovering it was looted

News

Montreal’s Max Stern Foundation gets its Bacchus back

The FBI recovered the work when it was offered for sale at the 2015 Spring Masters fair in New York

Archive
Restitution

Restitution of Cambodian artefacts is increasing, bringing smuggling scandals to light

The Metropolitan Museum may not be the last institution to return looted sculptures to Cambodia

News
From the archive

New antiquities minister must increase museum security and distance himself from Mubarak

Zahi Hawass faces major challenges over looting

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

An international mission had found no evidence of recent looting at eight sites in south Iraq; some archaeologists were far from pleased

The unwelcome truth

Archive
Provenance

US museum directors debate antiquities provenance dilemma

Should museums acquire objects without provenance, which may have been looted? Yes, say several panelists

Archive
Art trade

Excavations and trade are essential to the study of antiquities

An international symposium hosted by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) comes together to discuss the art trade and cultural heritage preservation.

Archive
Looting

Italy's attempt at curbing illegal art excavation and trade backfires

Make the citizen your ally if you want to save the nation’s past

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

Collector gets tax break for donating cylinder seals to university

Archaeologists say the artefacts are likely to have been smuggled out of Iraq

Archive
Review

As major Egyptian exhibitions open in Venice and Washington, the complex case of the European exploitation of Egyptian archaeology is given a timely airing

Book Review: Whose Pharaohs?

Archive
Looted art

Hector Feliciano seeks $6.8 million from Rosenberg heirs for finding Nazi loot

The complaint demands a 17.5% finders fee for aiding the recovery of stolen artworks

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

"My life as a tombarolo." The Art Newspaper goes underground in the world of illicit archaeology

Cristina Ruiz spent a day with the man who controls much of the illicit excavation on the site of ancient Veii, one of the largest Etruscan cities.

Archive
Exhibitions

Exhibition on tomb-robbers' effect on archaeological sites opens in Palestrina, Italy

Wounded archaeology

Archive
Restitution

Knoedler and Seattle Art Museum settle over Matisse lawsuit

In 1954 Knoedler sold picture stolen from Paul Rosenberg by Nazis

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

Decisive times for underwater archaeology: Who owns the watery past?

There are an estimated three million undiscovered shipwrecks scattered throughout the world’s oceans. UNESCO is calling for a global treaty to protect them. Salvors say it is unrealistic and unworkable.

Archive
Looting

Italian cathedral claims missal in British Library

Change of attitude towards restitution requests may signal changes in UK law

Archive
Looting

The Museum of Religion in St Petersburg has admitted to having looted items in its possession and is involved in tangled negotiations with the Church

Former atheist goes to confession

Archive
Looting

In an attempt to find works of art that may have been stolen by the Nazis ten British museums have named 350 works of art whose history between 1933 and 1945 is uncertain

British provenance probes

Archive
Looting

The World Jewish Congress has made accusations about the provenance of works in US permanent collections

Museums race to list questionable paintings

Archive
Looting

Restitution battles rage from Seattle to Paris to Budapest to New Zealand

Matisse Odalisque restored to the Rosenberg family

Archive
Looting

Mahler-Werfel restitution case revived, and put on hold

The council on looted art has postponed its decision on whether to return five paintings in the Oesterreiches Galerie to the granddaughter of Alma Mahler-Werfel

Archive
Looting

New York Court of Appeals rules that Schiele paintings must be returned to Leopold Foundation

The paintings are claimed to have been stolen from their rightful owners during the Nazi annexation of Austria

Archive
Looting

Russia rules on restitution: “Art taken from occupied Germany belongs to Russia”

Constitutional court decides in favour of nationalists’ bill

Archive
Looting

Growing unease over looted Lubomirski Dürers

A sheet of paper found in a second-hand book by The Art Newspaper details valuations of the drawings when sold by Colnaghi

Archive
Looted art

The National Gallery investigates wartime provenance of 120 paintings

The London gallery aims to ensure that they are not war loot and appeals for assistance in checking their recent histories

Archive
Nazi loot

The Lviv Dürer story continues: Hitler’s shadow over the British Museum

Restitution claims for the Lubomirski and Ossolinski collections are complicated by the history of Lviv’s occupiers

Archive
Nazi loot

Goodman restitution case settled out of court

Disputed Degas to go to the Art Institute of Chicago

Archive
Nazi loot

The Association of Art Museum Directors promises to search collections for Nazi loot

Critics pointed out that the AAMD has no enforcement provision for members who violate its guidelines, not even its own mediation process

Archive
Nazi loot

War loot found in a rug dealer’s shop in Boston

Veteran’s reluctant admission of taking plunder clinches case

Archive
Nazi loot

Search continues for missing Raphael painting

Stolen in 1945 from a Polish prince’s museum, it is now thought to be in Bavaria

Archive
Nazi loot

US Customs seize a painting from a looted collection

The collection was stolen during Nazi occupation of France