Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we explore France’s Repatriation of Nazi Looted Art.
Efforts for Repatriation of Looted Art
Nazi looted art is a topic that the art world has forever tiptoed around discussing openly. While institutions and independent scholars shy away from commenting on provenance, the cautious collector simply runs the other way when faced with these ‘tainted’ works.
Ethically, and more importantly by the enforcement of law, Nazi looted art must be returned to its owner from whom it was robbed, or her surviving heirs. The biggest obstacle in this process however, is tracing and identifying the authentic lineage of the work and its owner. Such a process, though crucial to repatriation, takes up a lot of time, money and human resources.
Thus, to solve this problem and simplify the process, France has proposed to set up a special committee under the ministry of culture. It is said that the new office will have 5 people headed by David Zivie. A dedicated budget of €200,000 per annum will be allowed. The move marks a shift of onus from France’s Ministry of Culture. The responsibility for researching claims as well as taking final decisions will rest with Zivie and his group.
During France’s occupation, many artworks looted from Germany were illegally brought into the country. Over the years, they may have traded hands several times thus making it difficult to trace they’re original owner. This being said, the French government has often been criticised for not taking adequate measures to ensure their repatriation. Zivie and his team’s first agenda is to identify such works from Germany and research their origin.
Only time will determine the success of these new age Monuments Men.
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