This week, the US government returned the 400 year old painting of "Cristo Portacroce" (Christ Carrying the Cross) by Italian artist Girolamo Romano to the family of former owner, Federico Gentili di Giuseppe.
Giuseppe had purchased the painting at the beginning of the 20th century. However, when he died in 1941, in Nazi-occupied France, his estate was auctioned off and his heirs were prohibited from claiming the painting due to the anti-Semitic laws in place at the time. As a result, the painting was illegally sold in a forced sale in 1941.
The Courthouse News Service reports that:
Giuseppe's grandchildren reached a watershed moment in their efforts to reclaim the artwork in 1999, when the Paris Court of Appeals forced the Louvre to return five paintings in a landmark decision for World War II plunder.
In March 2011, "Christ Carrying the Cross" was imported into the U.S. for a temporary exhibit at the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee, Florida.
On a lead from Interpol, the U.S. Attorney's Office seized the painting months later and returned it to Giuseppe's heirs…
Source: Courthouse News Service, 19 April 2012