The Louvre Museum is putting 31 paintings on permanent display in an effort to find the rightful owners of works of art looted by Nazis during the Second World War.

The Paris museum said it will open two showrooms 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 after the war, but more than 2,000 remain unclaimed, including 296 paintings stored at the Louvre.

Sebastien Allard, the head of the paintings department at the Louvre, said: “These paintings don’t belong to us. Museums often looked like predators in the past, but our goal is to return them.”