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Canadian Galleries Target Stolen Nazi-Era Art

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Canadian Galleries Target Stolen Nazi-Era Art

Post by Mazy on Thu Feb 13 2014, 07:52

This movie is like the Gift that Keeps on Giving!

February 6, 2014 11:43 pm

By Eric Szeto Global News

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WINNIPEG – ‘Monuments Men’ starring George Clooney highlights the most horrific period of art theft and destruction in Western civilization, but decades after World War II, thousands of pieces of artwork are still missing. The difficult task of finding and returning these works to their rightful owners is ongoing.

“I can tell you for the hundreds of the works that have been researched in Canada in the last 10 years, two works have been identified as stolen by the Nazis,” said Stephen Borys, executive director at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is one of six museums across the country taking part in a pilot project to track down stolen Nazi-era art. While Borys doesn’t suspect any of the pieces at the WAG are stolen, there are a number of paintings with incomplete histories between 1933 and 1945.

“The goal is almost like forensic investigation DNA matching,” said Borys. “We’re trying to find out if one of our works would match one of those stolen works.”

Adolf Hitler was a prolific art collector but when the war turned against the Germans, all the art that had been stolen or seized was ordered destroyed.

Much of what survived has resurfaced over the years. Last November, over $1 billion worth of art, including works from Picasso and Matisse, were discovered after police raided the home of German art dealer.

“I think it’s the single biggest find of Holocaust pictures that there’s been for years,” said Julian Radcliffe, the 2013 chairman of the Art Loss Register, a database of stolen, lost and otherwise missing artwork. “But it’s still a tiny fraction of the total work we’re looking for.”
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Achieving total Clooney-dom

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