On Wednesday a Paris appeals court ordered the French state to return three significant works of art to the heirs of a Jewish collector who died in a German concentration camp in 1945.
The artworks by Andre Derain are currently housed at the Museum of Modern Art in Troyes and in the Cantini museum in Marseille.
They had initially been in the collection of Parisian gallery owner Rene Gimpel, who was denounced by a rival art-dealer after joining the Resistance which fought against the Nazi occupation and France’s collaborationist Vichy regime.
After Mr Gimpel was arrested the works – painted between 1907 and 1910 – were taken as spoils.
In Wednesday’s ruling, the court overturned the judgment of a lower court which last year rejected a bid for the restitution of the artworks to Mr Gimpel’s heirs.
“This is great,” declared Corinne Hershkovitch, a lawyer for the heirs, who are still trying to recover other works from their Mr Gimpel’s collection.
Mr Gimpel, who was of Jewish descent, was a prominent art collector in the early 20th century. He was arrested in 1944 and deported to Neuengamme concentration camp in Germany, where he died.