France returns Nazi-looted art as Monuments Men hits movie screens

Ahead of the French premiere of “The Monuments Men,” France returned three precious paintings to their owners’ heirs.

The paintings were returned March 11, one day before the film on Nazi-looted art starring George Clooney debuted in France.

“Portrait of a Woman,” an 18th-century painting believed to be by Louis Tocque, was returned to heirs of Berlin Jewish art dealers Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer.

“Virgin with Child,” by Lippo Memmi or an associate, seized from banker Richard Soepkez in Cannes in 1944, and “Mountain Landscape” by the 17th-century Flemish master Joos de Momper, belonged to Baron Cassel van Doorn, a Belgian banker. Van Doorn, who had residences in France, had his property confiscated in 1943 although he was not Jewish, AFP reported.

About 2,000 works whose owners have not been identified are being held in French museums.

“The Monuments Men” tells the story of a U.S. military platoon charged by Franklin D. Roosevelt with finding and saving artworks and other culturally important items during World War II. — jta