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New York Judge Awards Nazi-looted Artworks To Holocaust Victims Heirs In Key Test Case

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– A New York judge on Thursday awarded title of two Nazi-looted drawings by noted Austrian painter Egon Schiele to a Holocaust victim’s heirs in what art experts viewed as a key test case of a U.S. law designed to ease the recovery of such stolen works.

Under the ruling, both works – “Woman in a Black Pinafore” and “Woman Hiding her Face” – are to be turned over to descendants of Franz Friedrich “Fritz” Grunbaum, an Austrian-Jewish entertainer and impresario who perished in the Dachau concentration camp in 1941.

Grunbaum, a vocal critic of the Nazis, once owned some 450 artworks, including more than 80 by Schiele, an Expressionist protege of Gustav Klimt and a major figurative painter of the early 20th century in his own right.

Grunbaum’s art collection was seized by the Nazi regime after he was arrested in 1938 and sent to Dachau, according to a synopsis of the case contained in Thursday’s summary judgment.

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Audubons Birds Of America Could Fetch 12 Million At Ny Auction

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– A first edition of John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America,” one of the most celebrated books of natural history, is going up for auction in New York in June and could fetch up to $12 million, Christie’s said on Wednesday.

The richly illustrated 19th Century book, featuring more than 400 hand-colored illustrations of 1,037 life-size birds, is one of just 13 complete sets thought remaining in private hands, Christie’s said.

Proceeds from the June 14 sale will benefit conservation of plants, animals and natural habitats through the work of the Knobloch Family Foundation.

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Anti-semitic Letter By Wagner Sold At Auction In Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM – A letter written by German composer Richard Wagner that underscored his anti-Semitism was sold to Jewish collector from Switzerland at auction in Israel on Tuesday for $34,000, the auction house said.

The letter, written on a yellowing double-spread sheet of paper, was penned by Wagner in Lucerne, Switzerland in 1869. It was apparently intended for the French philosopher Edouard Schoure, said Meron Eren, of the Kedem Auction House.

The buyer’s identity was not made public.

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Ethiopia Says British Museum Must Permanently Return Its Artifacts

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ADDIS ABABA – Britain must permanently return all artifacts from Ethiopia held by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Addis Ababa will not accept them on loan, an Ethiopian government official said.

The call comes after the museum, one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, put Ethiopian treasures plundered by British forces on display.

“Well, it would be exciting if the items held at the V&A could be part of a long-term loan with a cultural institution in Ethiopia,” museum director Tristram Hunt said.

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