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German arbitration panel rejects Jewish heirs' looted art claim

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BERLIN — A German expert panel says the heirs of a Jewish woman persecuted by the Nazis aren't entitled to reclaim a valuable painting she once owned.

The government-funded Advisory Commission said Thursday there was no evidence the painting "The Three Graces" by German artist Lovis Corinth was looted by the Nazis.

It acknowledged that the painting's one-time owner, Jewish industrialist Clara Levy, was persecuted by the Nazis.

But the panel found that the painting was legally shipped to New York by Levy's daughter-in-law in early 1940, where it changed ownership several times before being sold back to Germany after the war.

The painting's current owner, the Bavarian State Painting Collections, and Levy's heirs sought arbitration from the panel after failing to reach an agreement on its return.

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