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France to return Nazi-looted art

France will on Tuesday return three paintings seized by the Nazis to their rightful owners, just the tip of an iceberg in a country where nearly 2,000 such artworks remain unclaimed. All works of art identified as having been stolen by the Nazis are kept in French museums that are required to report them and put them on display in the hope that the previous owners, their heirs or assignees will spot and claim them.

Italy challenges US gun ad using Michelangelo's David

Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franceschini Saturday called for a US guns dealer to withdraw an advertisement using an image of Michelangelo's David -- but with the famed statue holding a bolt-action rifle. "The image of David, armed, offends and infringes the law. We will take action against the American company so that it immediately withdraws its (advertising) campaign," Franceschini tweeted in the afternoon.

Shoppers queue up as China mall shows them the Monets

Hundreds of Chinese art lovers lined up at a Shanghai shopping mall Saturday to see the works of French Impressionist Claude Monet, as the country's biggest ever exhibition of his paintings opened. The 40 Monet works drawn from the private Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris are arranged in chronological order and include some from his emblematic "Water Lilies" series. Organisers hope between 200,000 and 300,000 people will view the three-month show, but will limit daily visitors to 3,000 over security concerns.

Germany sued over suspected looted art found in Munich haul

BERLIN (Reuters) - An 88-year-old U.S. citizen is suing Germany and the state of Bavaria for the return of paintings he says were stolen from his uncle by the Nazis in 1939 and which German authorities uncovered in 2012 among a secret collection of 1,400 art works.

Switzerland returns final looted artifacts to Italy

Switzerland has finalised a 13-year process of returning more than 4,500 ancient artifacts to Italy that were stolen by a criminal gang, the Swiss justice ministry said Thursday. The Alpine country this week repatriated the final 68 looted artifacts to its southern neighbour, ending a restitution process that began in 2001, the ministry said in a statement. "This restitution marks the end of a procedure of judicial mutual assistance that has lasted for years and has allowed for the return of a total of 4,536 objects," it said.

German recluse goes on offensive over 'Nazi art' trove

A German recluse at the centre of a high-profile case involving artworks suspected to be Nazi loot has gone on the offensive, launching a legal bid for the return of the masterpieces. Cornelius Gurlitt's team has also launched a website to tell his side of the story about the long-lost works by the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. The spectacular "Gurlitt find" of around 1,400 long-lost works in a Munich flat has placed pressure on Germany to speed up the return of art the Hitler regime stole from Jewish collectors or bought for a pittance under duress.

Gurlitt in legal challenge over 'Nazi art' trove seizure

An elderly German recluse has taken legal action for the return of a vast art trove seized from his home, including works suspected to be Nazi loot, his spokesman said Wednesday. Lawyers for Cornelius Gurlitt, 81, filed a complaint last week against a 2011 order by a southern German court to search his Munich flat and seize around 1,400 long-lost works, his spokesman said. Gurlitt's legal petition aims for the seizure order to be lifted and the return of the artworks, which included long-lost masterpieces by Matisse and Chagall, Stephan Holzinger said in a statement.

Banksy work 'Kissing Coppers' auctioned for $575,000 in Miami

By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - A mural created on the side of a building by the elusive British street artist known as "Banksy" sold for $575,000 on Tuesday, along with dozens of other graffiti-style works at a Miami auction being closely watched due to the soaring value of street art.

Clooney, Damon to attend White House screening of 'Monuments Men'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Actors George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray will attend a screening of their new movie "The Monuments Men" at the White House on Tuesday night hosted by President Barack Obama. The film, directed by Clooney, is based on the true story of U.S. soldiers in World War Two who rescued art masterpieces from Nazi thieves.

El Greco paintings return to Toledo for anniversary

By Raquel Castillo TOLEDO, Spain (Reuters) - For centuries, Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco was a non-entity. No one studied his startling, unconventional work hanging high in a gothic cathedral, obscure convents and Spanish museums. It wasn't until the 19th century that modern painters rediscovered the artist - born Domenicos Theotocopoulos in Crete then living and painting in Toledo, Spain, from 1577 until his death in 1614. They found inspiration in his bold colors and brush strokes.
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