April 3, 2009

The Holocaust (stolen art) Restitution Bill

Posted at 12:45 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

More coverage on the proposed changes in the law that will increase the opportunities for museums in Britain to deaccession artefacts if they feel that there is a need to do so.

Daily Telegraph

Art looted by Nazis to be returned to owners
Art works looted by the Nazis could be returned to Holocaust survivors and their descendants under plans by ministers
By Alastair Jamieson
Last Updated: 11:19AM GMT 28 Mar 2009

A government bill would soften a long-standing ban on museums selling items of national importance in their collections.

The Holocaust (stolen art) Restitution Bill would allow curators to return paintings and other artefacts to families who did not wish them to remain in national collections.

Ministers have been promising to change the law for a decade but according to The Guardian, the government may finally support a private members’ bill introduced by Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon.

Mr Dismore said: “I hope it will close another chapter from the Holocaust. It means recognising a right that has been denied for decades.

“I suspect many people would be prepared to allow their artwork to stay in public collections but it’s their right to decide what happens to it.”

The Commission for Looted Art in Europe has helped to restore more than 3,000 items, including paintings, drawings, silver, books and manuscripts to their rightful owners over the past 10 years.

However, only a small number of items in Britain are expected to be affected by the change.

One such item could be Cupid Complaining to Venus, by Lucas Cranach, dated 1525. The painting, now in the National Gallery, was once part of Adolf Hitler’s private collection but its ownership between 1909 and 1945 remains a mystery.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the principle of the bill “is very much accepted … There will be attempts to broaden it beyond the Nazi era and one has to be aware of that and draft it in such a way that the risk is eliminated.”


Britain eyes return of art stolen by Nazis
Published: March 28, 2009 at 4:05 PM

LONDON, March 28 (UPI) — Holocaust survivors and their families should be given back works of art stolen by the Nazis during World War II, a British lawmaker proposes.

Andrew Dismore, a member of the British Parliament, has proposed the Holocaust Restitution Bill that would allow paintings and other artistic works stolen by the German Nazis to be returned to their rightful owners, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The proposed bill would focus on those works of art in national collections in Britain.

“I hope it will close another chapter from the Holocaust,” Dismore said. “It means recognizing a right that has been denied for decades.

“I suspect many people would be prepared to allow their artwork to stay in public collections but it’s their right to decide what happens to it.”

The Telegraph said among the items that could possibly be affected under the proposal is the 1525 painting “Cupid Complaining to Venus.” The work by Lucas Cranach was once owned by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, but recently has called the National Gallery its home.

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1 Comment »

  1. Hendon Hustings Hit Mill Hill Shul « RichardMillett's Blog said,

    04.23.10 at 1:50 pm

    […] Andrew Dismore (Labour), has been a hard-working MP and was responsible for introducing Holocaust Memorial Day and has also introduced the Holocaust (stolen art) Restitution Bill. […]

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