France returning Nazi-looted artwork from museums

JTA 26 January 2014

Government-owned museums in France will return three Nazi-looted paintings, the country’s minister for culture said.

Aurelie Filippetti identified the paintings as “Paysage Montagneux,” by the Dutch 17th century painter Joos de Momper; a painting of the Madonna and child; and another unidentified oil portrait of a woman.

Two of the paintings were in possession of the Louvre Museum and a third was found at the Museum of Dijon, according to the BFM television channel.

“I will return them very shortly to the legal beneficiaries of their owners at the time of their dispossession,” Filippetti reportedly said last week. She did not reveal the identity of the beneficiaries, but the Le Figaro daily reported they were Jewish.

The paintings are part of a list of 2,000 objects of art flagged as stolen by the Nazis that are in the possession of French cultural institutions, according to a report on the France3 television network. In 2013, French authorities returned seven artworks to descendants of Jews who had lost the objects during the Holocaust.

France has returned approximately 65,000 works of art and other objects stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners, Le Figaro reported.
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