The Louvre Museum has opened an exhibit of artworks that were once seized by the Nazis during their occupation of France.
Some 31 French-owned paintings are shown in an effort to reconnect the works of art with the heirs of their rightful owners. Each artwork is documented in the National Recovery Museum's catalog
. There are 296 Nazi-looted artworks at the Louvre that are unclaimed.
"Currently, a work group established by the Culture Ministry, and working in collaboration with the Commission for the compensation of the victims of looting, founded in 1999, is in charge of tracing the origins of these works, in order to determine those that have been looted, and those that have not," said a Louvre statement.
"In the case of looted goods, the group is equally committed to identify the owner at the moment of the theft, to allow the pieces to be returned to the rightful owners. In the paintings collection, more than 50 pieces have been returned to the owners in this way since 1951."
Across the Atlantic, another artwork that the Nazis likely stole for Hitler's own collection has been reunited with the rightful owner's family. The painting is now on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art, reports WNCN
Measuring six by nine feet, the oil titled “Birds of Prey Attacking a Henhouse” or The Invaded Poultry House, was taken from Cardarelli's Jewish family in Vienna, Austria in 1938, she says. Cardarelli spent years tracking down the artwork, discovered in a museum's basement.
Thought to be a collaboration between 17th century Flemish masters Adriaen van Utrecht and Jacob Jordaens, the dramatic large-scale work had special appeal to the Nazi regime which prized Northern European art.
“Apparently this painting was acquired for Hitler by his art dealer, and planned to be hung in his museum in Linz, and that really, I think, ups the ante in terms of what was considered great art by Hitler and the Nazi regime and this was certainly part of it,” museum curator Dennis Weller said.