France returns three paintings confiscated by Nazis

Officials in France returned three paintings that were confiscated by Nazi forces during World War II to the descendants of the paintings' rightful owners at a ceremony in Paris on Tuesday.

The three works of art were a painting by 16th century Flemish artist Joos de Momper titled "Mountainous Landscape"; "Madonna and Child" by the 14th century Italian painter Lippo Memmi; and an 18th century portrait of a woman by an unknown painter.

In a ceremony presided over by Aurélie Filippetti, France's minister of culture and communication, she said the French ministry of culture will be more proactive in researching the provenance of disputed works of art, according to a report in Le Monde. The event Tuesday was the latest restitution effort by France, which has returned 10 works of art in the last 12 months.

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"Madonna and Child" was accepted by Texas resident Nicholas Florescu, whose grandfather was a Romanian banker in Cannes.

The Flemish painting depicting verdant mountains belonged to the Baron Cassel van Doorn, whose descendants reside in Chile. The painting had been at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in the French city of Dijon. 

The potrait of a woman had belonged to Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer, who were art dealers. 

The ceremony Tuesday came just a day before the George Clooney movie "The Monuments Men" was set to open in France. The movie details efforts by Allied forces to rescue works of art during World War II. 


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