PARIS — The Louvre Museum is putting 31 paintings on permanent display in an effort to find the rightful owners of those and other works of art looted by Nazis during World War II.
The Paris museum opened two showrooms last month to display the paintings, which are among thousands of works of art looted by German forces in France between 1940 and 1945. More than 45,000 objects have been handed back to their rightful owners since the war, but more than 2,000 remain unclaimed, including 296 paintings at the Louvre.
‘‘These paintings don’t belong to us,” Sebastien Allard, the head of the museum’s paintings department at the Louvre, said in an interview on Tuesday. “Museums often looked like predators in the past, but our goal is to return them.
‘‘The large majority of the retrieved artworks have been plundered from Jewish families during World War II. Heirs can see these artworks, declare that these artworks belong to them, and officially ask for their return.’’
The paintings in the new showrooms are from various artists of different eras and horizons, including a remarkable landscape from Theodore Rousseau, ‘‘La Source du Lizon.’’