France returns 3 paintings stolen by Nazis to rightful owners

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Associated Press

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 11 at 2:04 PM

PARIS (AP) — France has returned three paintings stolen by the Nazis during World War II to their rightful owners.

In an official ceremony, France's culture minister returned the works to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the original owners who are now dead — calling it a "gesture toward justice."

They include "Madonna and Child," by 14th century master Lippo Memmi and an 18th century canvas by an unknown artist, "Portrait of a Woman."

The third painting, "Mountain Landscape" by Flemish artist Joos de Momper, was destined for display in the art gallery Adolf Hitler wanted to build in his hometown of Linz, Austria.

The restitution is part of France's ongoing effort to return hundreds of looted artworks that Jewish owners lost during the war and that still hang in French museums.

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