If you’ve been keeping tabs on where art and history overlap, you’ve probably seen more than a few news stories recently about the aftermath of Nazi-looted art in the 1930s and 1940s. take many forms, from works of art sold under duress by Jewish families leaving Germany to paintings and sculptures outright stolen by the Nazi regime.

Decades have passed since then, but efforts continue both to understand the full extent of the looting and to redress historical wrongdoings. New York state, home to a slew of art museums, recently passed a law that could make the impact of Nazi art looting much more apparent.

As Gothamist reports, a new law signed by state governor Kathy Hochul requires museums to report whether or not an artwork in their collection was looted by the Nazis.

The law updates an existing law by adding the following guidelines: “Any museum exhibiting identifiable works of art known to have been created before 1945 and which have changed hands due to theft, seizure , confiscation, forced sale or other involuntary means in Europe during the Nazi era (1933-1945) should, where possible, prominently display a placard or other signage acknowledging this information with this display. »

As the Gothamist article points out, the law does not apply to other cases where art has been looted – such as, for example, the aftermath of colonialism. Even so, it corrects a historical wrong and sets a potential model for future laws in the process – both laudable goals.

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