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US authorities move to seize painting stolen by Nazis from Kyiv museum

The Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Museum of Arts in Kyiv. (Google Maps/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. authorities have moved to seize a French painting that was taken by Nazi forces from a Ukrainian museum near the end of World War II.

Manhattan federal prosecutors said in a statement on March 21 that the painting — called An Amorous Couple, by Pierre Louis Goudreaux– was stolen from the Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Museum of the Arts in Kyiv around 1943.

U.S. officials said the painting had been missing for years, held by a London private collector and then in Massachusetts. It resurfaced in 2013 when it was listed on a website for an unnamed New York auction house.

The FBI determined it was bought from a Missouri auction house in 1993 by a New York dealer who had consigned it to the auction house.

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The prosecutors said they were seeking a court order to seize the painting and return it to the Kyiv museum.

In recent years, U.S. officials have stepped up efforts to locate art seized from Ukraine by Nazi forces and return it to Ukraine.

In December, U.S. authorities moved to claim a 107-year-old painting of Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible that was stolen from a Ukrainian art museum during World War II.

That painting by Mikhail Panin, called The Secret Departure Of Ivan The Terrible Before The Oprichnina, was part of the permanent collection of a museum in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro before the war.