The Louvre is showing Nazi-looted art in a bid to find its owners

For the first time since 1945, the Louvre has formally dedicated an area in which to present — together in the same space — some of the Nazi-looted artworks in its collection, in what curators are calling a restitution effort. The idea, they say, is to encourage the descendants of the works’ original owners, many of whom were probably Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, to come forward and reclaim what is rightfully theirs, The Washington Post reports.

French museums still hold hundreds of spoliated works, known as Musée Nationaux Récupération (MNR), which “await possible restitution”, according to the French culture ministry website. “Many MNR paintings were already on display in the galleries,” a Louvre spokeswoman tells The Art Newspaper. “However, it was the right moment to increase public awareness of these issues.”