Plunder and profit : museums, private collectors, and Nazi looted art.
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Stanley, Mary Ellen.
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Throughout World War II, looting was an activity that was widely embraced by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States Armed Forces. Although the natures of looting varied among these specific entities, every theft left a mark on the history of art in both the private and public collections of Europe. The repercussions continue to affect the contemporary art world and museum collections practices. Owing to the lack of standards in the museum field, works with questionable provenance lie in museum's collections that detrimentally affect museums' public service missions and their accountability to the public. As a result an ethical quagmire is created in which museums must re-evaluate their collections management practices and acknowledge the realities of the art market in order to remain within ethical practices. This thesis investigates World War II looting, restitution efforts, cases, and the contemporary challenges museums are facing with Nazi looted art.