Huffpost Arts

Dutch Museums Identify 139 Likely Nazi Looted Artworks

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LOOTED ART
This Painting entitled Harlequin and Colombine by French artist Edgar Degas (1834-1917), now on display in the Austrian Gallery at Belvedere Palace, is said to belong to one of the two pre-war Rothschild collections of art works. The Rothschilds, among Europe's biggest art collectors before World War II, bought their way out of Austria after Nazi annexation on March 12, 1938. Rothschild heirs never got the full art collection back. (AP Photo) | AP

AMSTERDAM -- AMSTERDAM (AP) — Dutch museums have identified 139 pieces of art, including dozens of paintings — one by Matisse and many by Dutch painters of varying renown such as Impressionist Isaac Israels — as likely having been taken forcibly from Jewish owners.

The review of Dutch art acquisitions from 1933 on was conducted by the museums themselves and focused explicitly on pieces for which there was any gap in their ownership record during the years that Germany's Nazi regime was appropriating works from Jews, either by forced sale or outright seizure.

In a first, the main association of Dutch museums is also launching a website Tuesday to help explain the existence of art of dubious provenance in their collections and assisting heirs in claims.