Restitution

News
Restitution

'There has been a generational shift': Belgian government to collaborate with Democratic Republic of Congo to return colonial-era loot

Bilateral accord to include projects to conserve, research, and store restituted items

News
Benin Bronzes

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

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Restitution

The Met will return two Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

The Benin Court plaques donated in 1991 with more than 150 other works, have been deaccessioned, while a third object, an Ife Head offered for purchase, will instead be restituted

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Restitution

Belgian experts frustrated at 'lack of initiative from museums and government' call for restitution of colonial-era acquisitions

New report provides guidelines for the return of artefacts to Africa, where Belgium controlled territory that was 80 times its size

Comment
UK politics

Don’t trash talk museums at this perilous time: we must adapt—not throw away—our cultural heritage

Cultural institutions—like religious buildings—can be spaces of good and harm, we cannot simply denounce their histories as one or the other, says museum director Nicholas Thomas

News
Museums & Heritage

Germany launches African museum exchange programme to discuss returning looted objects

New government initiative MuseumsLab aims to foster more international co-operation and consider topics including decolonisation and restitution

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Restitution

Germany pledges to return Benin bronzes to Nigeria starting in 2022

“We are facing up to our historical and moral responsibility”, says culture minister Monika Grütters

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Restitution

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

News
Benin Bronzes

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

News
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

News
Museums & Heritage

Museum extension allows Indigenous Sámi people to welcome home more than 2,000 artefacts held in Finland

An exhibition at the National Museum of Finland will celebrate the objects' repatriation to the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida in northern Lapland

News
Restitution

Sotheby's to sell $2m Meissen porcelain collection restituted by Dutch government to heirs of Jewish industrialist

The collection of 18th-century porcelain was previously exhibited in Dutch museums

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Restitution

Dutch museum settles with Jewish businessman's heirs on painting sold in Nazi era, defying government panel

The agreement overturns the Restitution Committee's 2013 rejection of the claim, which argued the painting was worth more to the museum than the heirs

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Restitution

UCLA’s Fowler Museum to reach out to Nigeria about returning its Benin bronzes

As restitution momentum builds, director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art says it could lead discussions for the return of looted Benin objects in US museum collections

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Restitution

After major Klimt restitution by France, another work still vexes Vienna

Apple Tree II, once confused for Roses Under the Trees, was returned to the wrong family 20 years ago, leaving the heirs of its original owner facing huge obstacles to get it back

News
Restitution

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

Interview
Exhibitions

Humboldt Forum to show Britain’s 1897 violence and plunder in Benin exhibition next year

The exhibition will include around half of Berlin’s collection of Benin bronzes as Germany lays groundwork to return them to Nigeria

News
Restitution

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

Interview
Restitution

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

Podcast

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

News
Restitution

German culture minister seeks 'national strategy' on Benin bronzes, including restitution

Monika Grütters says she will meet museum directors and trustees next month

News
Benin Bronzes

University of Aberdeen to return Benin bronze looted by British troops to Nigeria

The sculpture of an oba’s head was “acquired in a way that we now consider to have been extremely immoral,” the university says

News
Restitution

‘The movement is unstoppable’: African scholars and activists hail German plan to return Benin bronzes

“There is simply no moral ground for the confiscation of African artefacts in Western museums,” says the Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe

Comment
Benin Bronzes

Britain stole the royal, sacred Benin Bronzes from Nigeria—so why is Germany leading their return?

Germany's plans to return the artefacts are just the beginning of a necessary undoing of the art world's white infrastructure

News
Restitution

Germany moves towards full restitution of Benin bronzes

The head of the German foreign ministry’s culture department visited Nigeria last week for discussions with the Edo State Governor

News
Restitution

Cambodia’s Khmer heritage is finally returning home

Collector Douglas Latchford’s daughter has turned over his entire collection—as well as records that could lead to further recoveries from US institutions

News
Restitution

France to return Klimt painting, which hangs in the Musée d’Orsay, to heirs of Viennese Jewish owner

Rosiers sous les arbres will be restituted after a legal process releases it from the national collections

News
Restitution

Forging ahead with historic restitution plans, Dutch museums will launch €4.5m project to develop a practical guide on colonial collections

Researchers will consider “various modes of return” for museum objects and how the process can help to reconcile with colonial past

News
Parthenon marbles

George Clooney wades into Parthenon Marbles debate—again

The actor first stated that the Ancient Greek sculptures should be returned to their site of origin in 2014 after filming The Monuments Men

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Restitution

Looted in the 1980s, a sacred stele at the Dallas Museum of Art is headed back to Nepal

After FBI investigation, sculptural antiquity lent by a collector is determined to have a disturbing provenance

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Restitution

German Nazi loot panel urges return of Schiele work at Museum Ludwig to Jewish dentist’s heirs

In a unanimous decision, the government’s advisory commission says it is likely the work was sold under duress

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Restitution

Germany proposes law change to ease Nazi-loot returns from private foundations

Law change follows refusal by some foundations to restitute property lost due to Nazi persecution

News
Restitution

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

News
Restitution

German panel urges restitution of a Heckel painting to the heirs of a Jewish journalist persecuted by the Nazis

Heirs plan to donate the work to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

News
Restitution

Museum of the Bible in Washington returns around 5,000 disputed biblical objects to Egypt

Institution has been faulted for a lack of oversight in determining what artefacts were legally exported and sold

News
Nazi loot

An arms dealer casts a shadow over Kunsthaus Zurich

Petition calls for more transparency in planned display of the collection of Emil Georg Bührle, who bought Nazi-looted art with a fortune built on weapons

News
Law

Art lawyer Frank Lord opens private practice in New York

As well as working on high profile restitution cases, the former Herrick Feinstein partner has a PhD in art history

News
Restitution

Spitzweg drawing from Gurlitt hoard returned to Jewish publisher’s heirs

The musical scene was seized by the Gestapo in 1939 from Henri Hinrichsen, who died at Auschwitz

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Restitution

Dresden poster campaign draws attention to looted Benin bronzes in city’s museum

Initiative by the Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh is supported by Dresden’s state museums

Feature
Art dealers

Johnny Eskenazi: from wannabe theatre director to leading Eastern art dealer who rescued stolen Afghan ivories

Top Indian sculpture dealer warns against a too rigid interpretation of the 1970 Unesco Convention

News
Restitution

Congolese activist who tried to seize an artefact from the Louvre is fined €5,000

Mwazulu Diyabanza says that “museums do not deserve respect” as restitution debate intensifies

News
Restitution

French restitution bill passes final hurdle in parliament

Vote by National Assembly paves the way for the return of 27 colonial-era artefacts to Benin and Senegal within one year, but “will not create a legal precedent”

News
Restitution

French Senate and government lock horns on restitution

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

News
Restitution

Amsterdam court rejects heirs’ claim for Kandinsky painting in the Stedelijk Museum

Ruling upholds controversial decision by the beleaguered Dutch Restitutions Committee but counters an independent review

Comment
Humboldt Forum

'Humboldt Forum must have a clear policy that only objects of proper provenance can be used'

The question of restitution as well as a new order of north-south relations should be top of the agenda, says George Abungu an international adviser to the project

News
Nazi loot

Dutch policy on Nazi-looted art should be more humane and transparent, panel finds

The government's treatment of claims for art plundered by Nazis has come under fire for placing interests of museums over "legal redress for injustice"

Analysis
Africa

'Restitution is important but it is not essential': the African museums building a homegrown cultural revival

Though African institutions want looted artefacts to return home, they are more preoccupied with promoting living artists and treasures

Podcast

Is the future of museums in Africa?

We speak to museum experts András Szántó and Sonia Lawson. Plus, Dan Hicks on the legacy of colonial looting and National Gallery curator Christopher Riopelle on the Polish painter Jan Matejko

Analysis
The Year in Review 2020

Museums 2020: the year of crashing revenues and anti-racism disputes

Turbulent year draws to a close with sector wracked by pandemic lockdowns and Black Lives Matter challenges

News
Restitution

Chair of Dutch Nazi-loot committee resigns ahead of report on restitution policy

Alfred Hammerstein’s departure follows criticism of Dutch committee’s decisions

News
Repatriation

Artist discovers looted statue in Canadian museum and returns it to India

The 18th-century work was stolen by the museum's namesake from an active temple over 100 years ago

News
Looted art

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

News
Restitution

French Senate votes unanimously for restitution to Benin and Senegal in 'act of friendship and trust'

Senate approves bill to return 27 colonial-era artefacts from museum collections to Africa within one year

News
Restitution

Australia pledges millions towards repatriation of Aboriginal artefacts from overseas collections

Government extends pilot project to return objects to Indigenous peoples—including those held by private collectors

News
Collectors

Congolese collector Sindika Dokolo reportedly dies in Dubai diving accident

Tributes pour in for “defender of African art”—who was also being investigated by Angolan authorities

News
Heritage

Historic Book of Lismore returns to Ireland from Britain

Medieval vellum manuscript has been donated to University College Cork by Chatsworth, seat of the Dukes of Devonshire

News
Art crime

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

News
Museums

Mondrian’s heirs file US suit to recover four paintings worth $200m from a German museum

The complaint also demands compensation for four further works by Mondrian no longer at the Krefeld museum

News
Restitution

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

News
Restitution

Nazi-looted Dutch Old Master to be auctioned in settlement between heir and current holder

The Golden Age work by Aelbert Cuyp was looted from Jacques Goudstikker and acquired by Hermann Göring

News
France

Congolese activist fined €1,000 for trying to seize African funeral pole from Paris museum

Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza and the other activists who removed the object from display at the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac say their actions are a protest against colonial looting

News
Restitution

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

Interview
Book Club

Q&A | ‘The looting was a chaotic free-for-all’: Dan Hicks on the pillaging of the Benin Bronzes and colonialism in museums

The curator and University of Oxford professor tells us about his new book, The Brutish Museums, which details how museums themselves were “used as a unique type of weapon”

News
Restitution

France’s National Assembly votes to return colonial-era artefacts to Benin and Senegal

Accelerated bill enabling restitution of 27 objects from French museums passes first vote in parliament

News
Restitution

France ordered to return three Derain paintings to heirs of Jewish dealer René Gimpel

Ruling by Paris court of appeal sets an important precedent for pending restitution claim over 16 paintings in French museum collections

News
Restitution

Leading Australian activist accuses British Museum of downgrading provenance of Aboriginal shield to prevent restitution

New text accompanying object removes mention that it was collected by Captain James Cook but museum says it doesn't alter its significance

News
Restitution

Police search for Benin Bronze protestor—found guilty of 'threatening behaviour'

Isaiah Ogundele, who demonstrated outside the Museum of London, Docklands for the objects' repatriation, failed to appear at his court hearing earlier this month

News
Museums

Oxford museum removes 'racist' shrunken heads from display after 80 years

Exhibiting Tsantsas "reinforced racist and stereotypical thinking that goes against the museum’s core values,” says the Pitt Rivers Museum's director

News
Museums

Man arrested after protesting against Benin Bronzes display at London museum

Defendant was charged with using “threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress” during incident in January

News
Restitution

Berlin returns tattooed Maori heads to New Zealand

Human remains in museums have attracted widespread criticism

News
Law

US appeals court rules—with regret—that Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation can keep Nazi-looted Pissarro

Judges noted the Spanish government, which signed the Washington Principles in 1998, “can preen as moralistic in its declarations”, yet not be bound by them

Analysis
Looting

How recent anti-racism protests have pushed a longstanding debate about colonial looting in Europe

As the Black Lives Matter movement goes global, museums face renewed demands to restitute artefacts plundered from Africa

News
Restitution

‘I had lost hope’: The story behind a Nazi-looted Madonna and long-delayed compensation to Jewish heirs

The 93-year-old heir Grete Unger Heinz recalls contemplating a Jacopo del Sellaio painting as a child in Vienna

News
Restitution

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

News
Restitution

France takes first legal step towards restitutions to Benin and Senegal as cabinet examines new law

Twenty-six objects looted from Abomey Palace to return to Benin, Omar Tall’s sword to be transferred to Senegal

News
Law

Heirs battle estate over $30m Monet painting from Emden collection sold during Nazi era

Le Palais Ducal is at the centre of an ownership dispute that has kept the work from coming to auction

News
Art market

Sotheby's to auction £4m restituted Bellotto painting that Jewish retail magnate was forced to sell to Hitler

The view of Dresden's Zwinger moat had been returned to the heirs of Max Emden and will now be offered for sale in London on 28 July

News
Restitution

US Supreme Court agrees to hear Berlin museums' appeal in lawsuit over restitution of medieval treasures to Jewish heirs

Panel will consider museums' argument that a trial over rightful ownership of the Guelph Treasure cannot be heard in American courts

News
Art market

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

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
Restitution

National museum in Stockholm to return stolen 16th-century painting to Poland

Officials in Poland and Sweden piece together provenance of work by School of Lucas Cranach the Elder

News
Protests

Protestors seize African artefact from Paris's Quai Branly museum in bid to 'bring to Africa what was taken'

Five demonstrators will go to court on charges of theft

News
Museums

'Time to give back the swag, guys!' British Museum unleashes Twitter storm with statement on Black Lives Matter

London institution was criticised for proclaiming that it "stands in solidarity with the Black community" while continuing to resist calls to restitute colonial-era loot

News
Second World War

The cultural consequences of the Second World War carry into today

From art restitutions to how museum adapted to wartime constraints, we continue to feel the fallout 75 years after the conflict’s end

News
British Museum

Mary Beard wades into restitution debate in her first blog post as a new British Museum trustee

"Museums have always been controversial. Who should be allowed in? And on what terms?" asks the celebrated classicist

News
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

News
Restitution

New guidelines for UK museums will kickstart nation's long-overdue restitution debate

Arts Council England will release a document that addresses the ethical and practical issues around restituting cultural objects, planned for autumn 2020

News
Collectors

Portuguese judge orders seizure of all assets owned by African art collector Isabel dos Santos in the country

Move is intended to stall the sales of stakes in multi-million-Euro companies based in Portugal

Comment
Law

The US Supreme Court’s silence on Nazi art theft fails Holocaust survivors

Last week’s decision to reject an appeal over the ownership of Picasso’s The Actor was a missed opportunity to clarify the limitations of the 2016 HEAR Act

News
Rhodesian Man

Zambia claims Rhodesian Man, the 250,000-year-old fossilised skull at London’s Natural History Museum

Negotiations are ongoing, but the Foreign Office says releasing 1972 documents on the claim “would harm UK relations with Zambia”

News
Fakes & copies

'Stolen' ancient sculpture returned to Nigeria is 'the kind of fake you could buy on eBay', African art expert says

Countries' rush to restitute objects is part of the problem, says Belgian lawyer

News
Restitution

Italy hands Nazi-looted Renaissance sculpture from the Uffizi to Germany

Andrea della Robbia’s Mary Magdalene was acquired by Hermann Göring in 1941

News
Parthenon marbles

Leaked draft of EU paper stirs Parthenon Marbles dispute

But the clause is unlikely to refer to the ancient Greek sculptures in the British Museum, expert says

News
Restitution

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

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
Nazi loot

German court rules in favour of Nazi-looted art database, although owners say a listing makes works unsellable

Lostart.de is caught between the conflicting demands of claimants and the holders of disputed art

News
Restitution

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

News
Restitution

Berlin restitutes painting to heirs of 'degenerate' artist for the first time

A portrayal of Lot by Hans Baldung Grien was sold to the Gemäldegalerie in 1937 by Hans Purrmann

News
Restitution

Arts Council England asks for help in returning looted artefacts held in UK museums

Tender opened for guidance around repatriation questions for items including those acquired from former colonies

News
Art market

Sotheby’s to auction three Nazi-looted works restituted to Jewish collector’s heirs

Two paintings by Signac and one by Pissarro are expected to fetch as much as £20m