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Returning plundered art creates ethical dilemmas

plundered art.jpgWhen we think of looted art, we often think of art stolen by the Nazis from Jewish families during the Holocaust.

But it's something that's happened many times in history, and continues to happen even today.

For example, some First Nations people here in Canada are involved in talks with museums, trying to negotiate the return of cultural objects such as totem poles.

But returning art and cultural objects is not always clear cut. Sometimes the middleman benefits as much as the rightful owner.

A conference on plundered art was recently held at Concordia University, and on the occasion, Cinq à Six host Jeanette Kelly spoke with:

  • Monica Patterson, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (CEREV), Concordia University
  • Marc Masurovsky, Director of the Provenance Research Training Program (PRTP), European Shoah Legacy Institute in Washington DC.

Listen to their conversation:                             

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Photo: A researcher of the Art Loss Register at their offices in central London, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, points to a picture on a news website, showing a painting by Henry Matisse entitled 'Sitzende Frau' ('Sitting Woman') which is part of the art recently found in Munich, Germany. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis