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Displaying items by tag: Stolen Art

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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Wednesday, 02 April 2014 16:07

Gauguin and Bonnard Paintings Recovered in Italy

On Wednesday, April 2, Italy’s Culture Ministry unveiled two paintings that were recovered by police specializing in locating stolen art. The works, which are by the French artists Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard, had been hanging in an Italian factory worker’s kitchen for nearly 40 years. He was unaware of the spectacular value of the works in his possession.

The two paintings were stolen from a London home in 1970 and then abandoned on a train traveling from Paris to Turin. The works were stored in an Italian Railways lost and found facility until they were offered at a lost-property auction in 1975. A Fiat factory worker with a passion for art purchased the paintings for roughly $30. A friend of the factory worker alerted Italian heritage police last summer when he grew suspicious of the paintings’ value.

Gauguin’s “Fruits sur une Table ou Nature au Petit Chien” is estimated to be worth between 10 million and 30 million euros. The Bonnard painting, titled “Le Femme aux Deux Fauteuils,” is said to be worth around 650,000 euros. The investigation into how the paintings ended up in the Fiat worker’s kitchen are still ongoing. It is unclear who the works will be returned to since the original owners have passed away. 

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After a trove of Nazi-looted masterpieces were found in a Munich apartment, the German state of Bavaria has drafted a national law that would ease the return of stolen art to its rightful owners. The new legislation would eliminate the statute of limitations applied to stolen property, which is typically 30 years. Some art collectors have used the law to hold onto artworks with troubled provenances. The draft will go before Germany’s upper house of parliament on February 14.

Back in November 2013, German authorities announced that they had found approximately 1,500 artworks worth around one billion euros in a dilapidated apartment belonging to Cornelius Gurlitt. Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrandt, had been put in charge of selling stolen artworks by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda. Gurlitt’s father secretly hoarded the works, which included paintings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Marc Chagall, later claiming that they were destroyed in the bombing of Dresden. Throughout his life, Gurlitt, an unemployed recluse, sold a number of the paintings and lived off of the profits.

German authorities came under fire when it was revealed that they had known of Gurlitt’s stash since February 2012 but failed to make it public until the following year. They have since posted pictures of more than 400 of the works, inviting rightful owners to stake claims. 

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A man arrested last week after being spotted calmly walking out of a gallery with a $200,000 Picasso under his arm had an extensive collection of stolen works hidden in his studio apartment, police have said.

Mark Lugo, 30, was apprehended on July 6 after allegedly stealing Picasso's 1965 'Tete de Femme' from the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco the previous day.

A subsequent raid on his one bedroom apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey, revealed a small museum's worth of art - 11 stolen pieces in total, worth more than $500,000.

The works were taken from seven galleries in Manhattan and included a piece by Cubist master Fernand Léger and another Picasso sketch, authorities said.

After Lugo's arrest in San Francisco, police in New York reviewed CCTV footage from The Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side, which had a Léger piece stolen on June 28.

Officers are said to have recognised Lugo from the tapes, connecting him to the robbery of Léger's $350,000 1917 piece 'Composition aux element mecaniques' and enabling them to execute a search warrant on his Hoboken property.

At the apartment on Tuesday, police said they found the 11 stolen pieces of art, some of which were hung on the walls.

'There were about six of them displayed on the wall of the apartment. His whole apartment was filled with wine books, upper-crust living, paintings,' a police source told the New York Post.

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