On the eve of the release of a film starring Dame Helen Mirren as the Jewish refugee who won a historic battle with the Austrian government over the ownership of a great painting, an expert at Christie’s has spoken of a force that is changing the shape of the international art market: the new understanding of the huge scale of wartime art thefts.
The number of legal claims against Austrian and German art galleries and museums has been rising every year, according to Monica Dugot, the global director of restitution at the auction house, and that was set to continue, despite the advanced age of many Jewish survivors. “While it was the first generation that remember most, many of the victims did not choose to follow up their ownership cases. Those who lost family members were not focused on the recovery of tangible property. It is often the next generation who really try to reconstruct what happened,” Dugot told the Observer.
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