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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 17:45 GMT
UK gallery to return looted art
A lion, attributed to Carl Ruthart (1630-1703)
The three looted drawings were sold in London after the war
Artwork looted by the Nazis and held in the UK is to be returned to its original owners, it has been agreed.

The three drawings from the 17th and 18th Centuries were part of a bequest to the Courtauld Institute of Art.

An adjudication panel accepted a claim by the heirs of Dr Arthur Feldmann that the drawings he owned were seized by the Gestapo in Czechoslovakia.

Two drawings will be returned to the family, while the family will let the third stay on display at the Courtauld.

The Spoliation Advisory Panel said there was good evidence the drawings were stolen from Dr Feldmann's home in 1939 before being sold by an unknown party via Sotheby's in 1946.

Looted Drawings
An architectural capriccio, attributed to Giuseppe Bibiena (1696-1756)
An architectural capriccio, attributed to Giuseppe Bibiena (above, 1696-1756)
A lion, attributed to Carl Ruthart (1630-1703)
A dog lying down, attributed to Frans Van Mieris the elder (1635-1681) - will remain at the Courtauld
The drawings were among more than 3,000 works given to the Courtauld in 1952.

UK Culture Minister David Lammy said: "It is of the utmost importance that questions of ownership arising from the terrible events of the Second World War are resolved."

Proper amends must be made to those who lost works of art at the hands of the Nazis, he added.

Courtauld director Dr Deborah Swallow paid tribute to the fact the Feldmanns for allowing one drawing to remain.

"We are delighted by this act of generosity and are very pleased to have worked so amicably with the heirs of Dr Feldmann in resolving the claim," she said.

"There was overwhelming evidence that the drawings were illegally taken from Dr Arthur Feldmann and the Courtauld supported his descendants' claim to these works."

The Spoliation Advisory Panel was formed in 2000 to consider claims over disputed art held in British collections.

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