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The BBC's Rosie Millard
"Up to 350 works may have been taken"
 real 28k

Anne Webber, expert on looted art
"Works with question marks over them may be looted"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 17:37 GMT
'Looted' art lists worth millions
van gogh
This looted Van Gogh has been returned to its owners
Experts have named more than 300 works of art in British museums and galleries which may have been looted from Jews by the Nazis.

The lists includes Picasso's Fruit Dish, Bottle and Violin, three Monet paintings and Renoir's A Nymph by a Stream, a spokesman for the National Museum Directors' Conference said. The combined value of all the works is said to come to millions of pounds.

The museums, which include the British Museum and the National Gallery, have investigated any artworks they acquired after World War II and which had gaps in their history between the period 1933 to 1945.


We hope the government will ensure justice is done

Anne Webber, Commission for Looted Art in Europe
During these years the Nazis oversaw the looting of hundreds of thousands of paintings and sculptures.

The World Jewish Congress estimates that about 110,000 artworks remain unaccounted for.

Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust told a news conference on Tuesday that more than 100 paintings currently hanging in the National Gallery are in question.

Findings also show a further 80 paintings at London's Tate Gallery may have had a dubious history.

Picasso's Weeping Woman
Suspicion surrounds Picasso's Weeping Woman
These include works by Paul Cezanne - The Avenue of the Jas de Bouffan - and Picasso's Head of a Woman and his Weeping Woman.

Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There are a number of very famous works within the group but of those a very large number are not suspicious but rather uncertain in their provenance.

"We are publishing this information so others can help us close the gaps."

Anne Webber, chairman for the Commission for Looted Art in Europe said the lists showed the museums had not been fastidious enough about what they have bought in the past and public money had been spent on works whose history was not adequately known.

Max Beckmann's Carnival
History of Beckmann's Carnival is uncertain
She added it was important for the museums to ask for full disclosure from the art trade for all information they may have on any of the works listed.

Rightful ownership however, is not always easy to establish. Even if it can be proved that a piece of art was stolen, it is not yet clear whether it can simply be returned to the owners or their families.

Under current law, British galleries are barred from disposing of art that they hold in trust for the nation.

The government has set up an advisory panel to deal with claims from people, or their heirs, who believe they had treasures stolen.

Pierre Paul Prud'hon's 'Nude Woman Standing'
Was Prud'hon's Nude Woman Standing looted?
Sir Nicholas said he believed none of the museums in the UK, if they were to find themselves with looted works on their walls, would wish them to remain there.

Lord Janner added that the return of looted works should be made a priority.

He said: "This research has been educational and each case shows a tragedy, it is a reminder of the past.

"This is the first step to get a measure of justice to the victims of the Nazi holocaust and importantly to return stolen goods to Nazi victims.

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