News

The Limbach Commission: What is it and will reforms make a difference?
Apollo 26 September 2016
click for story
"Provenienzforschung muss zur Ausbildung von Kunsthistorikern gehören" - "Provenance research must include the training of art historians"
Deutsche Welle 26 September 2016
click for story
In München entscheidet sich das Schicksal der Gurlitt-Sammlung - The fate of the Gurlitt collection is being decided in Munich
Der Bund 25 September 2016
click for story
Museum Georg Schäfer richtet Stelle für Provenienzforschung ein - Georg Schäfer Museum establishes provenance research post
Main Post 24 September 2016
click for story
Art meets history in Belgian hommage to legendary art dealer
Expatica 23 September 2016
click for story
Köln gibt Werk aus Gurlitt-Sammlung zurück - Cologne to restitute a work from the Gurlitt collection
Salzburger Nachrichten 23 September 2016
click for story
What You Need to Know about Guy Wildenstein’s Tax Evasion Trial, Which Resumes Today
Artnet 22 September 2016
click for story
Congressmen Introduce Legislation to Help Recover Art Confiscated During the Holocaust
Artfix Daily 22 September 2016
click for story
Unusual Case of Nazi-looted Artwork That Turned Up in Israel
Haaretz 22 September 2016
click for story
Restitution Legislation: HEAR Act and Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Clarification Act Move Forward
Art Law Report 18 September 2016
click for story
Le Kunstmuseum ne regrette pas l'héritage Gurlitt
Tribune de Genève 18 September 2016
click for story
Will Victims of Nazi Art Thieves Finally Get Justice?
The Daily Beast 17 September 2016
click for story
Bill to Shield International Art Loans Gains in Senate
New York Times 16 September 2016
click for story
Moll Heirs Response to Statement from the National Gallery Regarding Suit for Return of Stolen Matisse Portrait of Greta Moll
MMD Newswire 15 September 2016
click for story
Russia critics, museums square off over Senate artwork bill
Politico 15 September 2016
click for story
Nazi-Looted Art Legislation Advances in Senate
The Weekly Standard 15 September 2016
click for story

Websites and Resources

UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws
Provides access to national laws currently in force (with translations), import/export certificates, contact details for national authorities and addresses of official national websites dedicated to the protection of the cultural heritage.
click to visit
Dutch Museums Provenance Research
Results of 'Museum Acquisitions from 1933' project showing 41 Dutch museums are in possession of at least 139 items with 'problematic' origins.
click to visit
Swiss Looted Art Portal
Opened in June 2013, this government-run site provides details of museums' provenance research, advice on making enquiries, research and claims and links to relevant databases and archives in Switzerland and beyond.
click to visit
WGA-Files - Akten der Wieder- gutmachungsämter von Berlin - Case Records of the Berlin Restitution Offices
Digitised restitution case records of the Berlin Restitution Offices held in the Landesarchiv Berlin, consisting of the record group B Rep 025, Wiedergutmachungsämter von Berlin, containing more than 800,000 files.
click to visit
European Sales Catalogues 1930-1945 Heidelberg University
3,000 digitised auction catalogues including both German-speaking countries and the countries of occupied Europe - Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland - and including every genre of cultural object, from paintings to tapestries to silver and books. Provides the entire texts of auction catalogues. Searchable by auction house, artist, work of art, etc.
click to visit
German Sales Catalogs 1930–1945 at the Getty
More than 2,000 German language sales catalogues published between 1930 and 1945 including more than 230,000 individual auction sales records for paintings, sculptures, and drawings only. Searchable by artist name and nationality, lot title, buyer or seller’s name, city in which the sale occurred, type of subject matter and other fields. Provides only individual lot details, and links to Heidelberg for the full catalogue.  
click to visit
Hermann Goering Collection
Contains 4,263 paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries and other art objects, purchased or acquired from confiscated property, many available for restitution today.
click to visit
International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property
The Portal provides for the first time digital access to millions of cultural property records from the National Archives of the US, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Ukraine, France and other archival sources.  
click to visit
Polish Wartime Losses
Launched on 2 February 2011 by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and including missing paintings from public and private collections by Raphael, Van Dyck, Rubens and others, reflecting the 70% of Poland's art lost to the Nazis.
click to visit
ERR Database
The Nazi records and photographs of the looting of more than 20,000 objects from Jews in France and Belgium. Click here for background details.
click to visit
Galerie Heinemann
c 43,500 paintings and c 13,000 persons and institutions associated with their acquisition or sale by the Munich art dealer Galerie Heinemann from 1890 to 1939.  Click here for the full background.
click to visit
Hungary on Trial: Herzog Collection
The history of the family, a copy of the July 2010 lawsuit filed in New York and photos of the artworks.
click to visit
'Degenerate Art' / Aktion 'Entartete Kunst' website
The fate of more than 21,000 artworks condemned as “degenerate” by the Nazis and seized from German museums in 1937.  Click here for background details. 
click to visit
Central Collecting Point Munich Database
Index cards and photographs of the 170,000 works of art collected up by the Allies at the end of the war and inventoried from 1945 till 1951.
click to visit
Hitler's Linz Collection
A searchable, illustrated catalogue of the 4,731 works of art found by the Allies in the Linz Collection, with provenance details. Click here for detailed information.
click to visit
The Austrian National Fund
Hundreds of looted objects in Austrian public collections available for restitution.
click to visit

Conferences and Events

Collecting and Provenance: Usage, Authenticity and Ownership Conference, Israel Museum Jerusalem, 13-16 November 2016

For full details of the conference programme, co-organized by The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Collecting & Display International Research Forum, and for the registration form and tickets, click here.

Looted Art as Realm of Memory Workshop, Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Berlin, 14-16 December 2016

For full details, click here.

Où sont les bibliothèques spoliées par les nazis? Tentatives d'identification et de restitution, un chantier en cours - Where are the libraries looted by the Nazis? Efforts at identification and restitution, a work in progress International Conference, Paris, 23-24 March 2017

Organised by the Centre Gabriel Naudé-Enssib | Institut d'histoire du temps présent (IHTP, UMR CNRS Paris 8) | Université Paris Diderot (EA Identités, cultures, territoires).
Call for Papers in French or English by 30 September 2016. For full details, click here.

From Refugees to Restitution: The History of Nazi Looted Art in the UK in Transnational & Global Perspective, Conference, Newnham College Cambridge, England, 23-24 March 2017

Call for papers by 15 October 2016. For full details, click here.

Publications

Cross-border restitution claims of art looted in armed conflicts and wars and alternatives to court litigations
July 2016
Marc-André Renold. A study commissioned and supervised by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee.
read more
Proceedings of 'Plundered, But By Whom' Conference, Prague 21-2 October 2015
April 2016
Papers given at the conference organised by the Czech Documentation Centre for Property Transfers of Cultural Assets of WWII Victims.
read more
Who Owns Bruno Schulz? The Changing Postwar Fortunes of Works of Art by Jewish Artists Murdered in Nazi-Occupied Poland
March 2016
Nawojka Cieślińska-Lobkowicz . About the double standard in Poland which urges other countries to undertake research and restitution but avoids this within Poland, although after the war, national institutions and private individuals often became the new owners of objects that had once belonged to private people or organizations persecuted by the Nazis. In the majority of cases, this affected Jewish individuals, Jewish communities and Jewish institutions.
read more
Hitlers Kunsthändler Hildebrand Gurlitt 1895 - 1956. Die Biographie
March 2016
Meike Hofmann, Nicola Kuhn.
read more
Rebuilding a Destroyed World: Rudolf Beres – A Jewish Art Collector in Interwar Kraków
February 2016
Agnieszka Yass-Alston .
read more
Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books
February 2016
Mark Glickman.
read more
Restitution von NS-Raubkunst
January 2016
Barbara Vogel (Hrsg.). Essays on the difficulties and failings of restitution in Germany from historical, scientific, art historical, legal and political points of view, edited by Barbara Vogel.
read more
Paul Graupe (1881-1953). Ein Berliner Kunsthändler zwischen Republik, Nationalsozialismus und Exil (A Berlin art dealer caught between the Republic, National Socialism and Exile)
December 2015
Patrick Golenia, Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier and Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont . Patrick Golenia, Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier and Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont write the biography of Paul Graupe, the Berlin auctioneer who lived between two extremes in Nazi Germany.
read more
M.N.R. (Musées Nationaux récupération): Les tableaux de la guerre : oeuvres récuperées en Allemagne après la Second Guerre mondiale
October 2015
Guillaume Kazerouni assisté de Régis Couillard et Gwenaël Prost. A catalogue of the twelve MNR works of art held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes in France.
read more
The Munich Art Hoard: Hitler's Dealer and His Secret Legacy
September 2015
Catherine Hickley. In tracing the origins of the Munich hoard, the book tells of the shady dealings of the Paris art world in the 1940s and recounts political debates in modern-day Berlin, as politicians and lawyers puzzle over the inadequacies of a legal framework that to this day falls short in securing justice for the heirs of those robbed by the Nazis.
read more
Hitler's Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe's Treasures
September 2015
Susan Ronald. How as an "official dealer" for Hitler and Goebbels, Hildebrand Gurlitt became one of the Third Reich's most prolific art looters. Yet he stole from Hitler too, allegedly to save modern art.
read more
Schwarzbuch Bührle: Raubkunst für das Kunsthaus Zürich? - The Bührle Black Book: Looted Art for the Kunsthaus Zurich?
August 2015
Thomas Buomberger, Guido Magnaguagno. As the Emil Bührle collection is now to move into the planned extension at the Kunsthaus Zurich, designed by David Chipperfield, the authors ask: what are the source of the pictures, are any looted or flight assets, what is the source of the arms dealer's wealth, what was his part in the Nazi regime's art looting, and what is the artistic value of the collection.
read more
The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family’s Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis
August 2015
Simon Goodman. Together with his family, Simon Goodman initiated the first Nazi looting case to be settled in the United States.  Through painstaking detective work across two continents, Simon Goodman has been able to prove that many other works belonged to his grandparents, Fritz and Louise Gutmann, and has successfully secured their return.
read more
Witnessing the Robbing of the Jews A Photographic Album, Paris, 1940-1944
August 2015
Sarah Gensburger. The book tells how the vast enterprise of plunder was implemented in the streets of Paris by analyzing images from an album of photographs found in the Federal Archives of Koblenz, brought from Paris in 1945 and catalogued by the staff of the Munich Central Collecting Point. Beyond bearing witness to the petty acts of larceny, these images provide crucial information on how the Germans saw their work.
read more
Aviso 2015 Raubkunst und Restitution at the Bayerische Staatsgemälde-sammlungen
July 2015
Bernhard Maaz, Alfred Grimm, Meike Hopp, Stephan Klingen, Andreas Strobl, Astrid Pellengahr, Robert Bierschneider. To read the 2015 report on research and restitution at the Bavarian State Paintings Collections Munich, click here.
read more
Alfred Flechtheim. Raubkunst und Restitution (Alfred Flechtheim: Plundered Art and its Restitution)
May 2015
Bambi, Andrea; Drecoll, Axel (eds).
read more
A Critical Assessment of US Intelligence's Investigation of Nazi Art Looting
April 2015
read more
Prisoners of War: Nazi-Era Looted Art and the Need for Reform in the United States
March 2015
Jessica Schubert.
read more

Welcome to lootedart.com

This site contains two fully searchable databases.

The Information Database contains information and documentation from forty nine countries, including laws and policies, reports and publications, archival records and resources, current cases and relevant websites.

The Object Database contains details of over 25,000 objects of all kinds – paintings, drawings, antiquities, Judaica, etc – looted, missing and/or identified from over fifteen countries.

All images on the site are published under fair use conditions for the purpose of criticism and research.

For a list of Essential Website Links, showing all key research sites and resources,click here.

For details of international resources, see below, Online Resources and Case News.

For the Gurlitt collection at the Kunstmuseum Bern, click here. For the full range of developments on the Gurlitt case, click here. For all news stories, see the News Archive.  For all other materials, including ALIU reports, etc, search 'Gurlitt'. 

To subscribe to our looted art newsletter, click here.

NEW

18 July 2016: Further 91 pieces in Cornelius Gurlitt art collection likely to be looted

18 July: The government-backed German Lost Art Foundation researching the Gurlitt collection has identified a further 91 works of art that it says may have been looted from Jewish owners. The press announcement on Monday was issued only in German and provides no details of the 91 works in question. They are however apparently amongst a list of 189 works in the Salzburg collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, also only in German, and not individually identifiable. There is no review of the works available nor any summary.

15 July 2016: Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE) Press Release: Bavaria to investigate return of art to high-ranking Nazi families – Dombauverein commits to restitution of Kraus family painting

CLAE's press relase welcomes the swift action taken by the Bavarian parliament on Wednesday to require the government to undertake and publish a report on works of art which “with the assistance of the management of the Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (State Paintings Collections) or the State Government” were handed back to high-ranking Nazis and their families. CLAE calls for the investigation to include clarification of the provenance of the artworks so that the rightful owners of any works that were looted can be identified and assured of restitution or compensatory justice. CLAE also calls on the Bavarian government to ensure that all documents from the State Paintings Collection and other relevant government bodies are published and made fully accessible. The release welcomes the recent commitment of the Dombauverein (Cathedral Association) Xanten to restitute the Jan van der Heyden painting confiscated from the Kraus family in 1941 in Vienna and which was returned by Bavaria in 1962 not to the Kraus family but to Henriette Hoffmann-von Schirach whose father, Hitler's official photographer, acquired it in Vienna through the good offices of his son-in-law, her husband Baldur von Schirach, Gauleiter of Vienna. She sold it the following year and it was purchased by the Dombauverein. The release sets out the history of the negotiations with the Dombauverein since the claim was submitted in July 2011 and the Kraus family's response to this new development.
To read the release, click here.

1 July 2016: Statement of Bavarian Culture Minister on the Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (State Paintings Collections)

In response to only some of the questions raised by Dr Sepp Duerr, leader of the Green Party, on 29 June 2016 (reported in the BundesJustizPortal on 2 July), about the shabby behaviour of the Staatsgemaeldesammlungen (State Paintings Collections), Minister Spaenle asserted that the doors of the  Collections are open to both families and researchers. He denied that the Collections had blocked access to documentation and asserted that its doors are open to those who "have a legitimate interest", without specifying what a "legitimate" interest was and who would make that decision. He denied that the Collections were not transparent but did not address Dr Duerr's question of why its records have not been handed over to the State Archives in accordance with State law where they would be freely accessible. He did not at all  address the question of whether artworks had been returned to high-ranking Nazi families. To read the press release, click here.

30 June 2016: World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder's Statement on Scandal in Bavaria

Referring to the scandal as "absolutely shocking", Ronald Lauder called for "full transparency" on allegations Bavaria gave looted art to Nazis rather than returning the art to its rightful Jewish heirs. "Returning stolen property to the criminals guilty of the theft is nothing short of a crime itself", he said. “The very idea that the state would negotiate with the families of high-ranking Nazi officials, rather than insisting on restitution to those whose lives and property were upended during the Holocaust, is dismaying.. All efforts must be made to ensure that the families of the rightful heirs are fully compensated or receive full restitution of the property stolen from them.” To read the statement in full, click here.

29 June 2016: CLAE issues its response to the Bavarian State Paintings Collections statement on return-sales to high-ranking Nazi families;

In response to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung article 'Munich's Looted Art Bazaar' of 25 June and the Commission for Looted Art's Press Release of 27 June, the Bavarian State Paintings Collections (Bayerische Staatsgemaeldsammlungen, BSGS) issued a statement on 28 June attempting to refute the facts set out in both documents.The Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE) has today issued a full response showing that the BSGS statement is both inaccurate and misleading. The BSGS statement, which makes no mention of the victims of Nazi looting, and refers to provenance research as "tedious", further confirms the concerns expressed by families and the press across the world over the last few days, and underlines the need for root and branch reform in the way research and restitution are carried out in Germany, so that justice becomes fully available. CLAE's response is available here in both English and German. The BSGS statement is available also in English and German.

28 June 2016: Claims Conference Statement on Scandal in Bavaria

Ruediger Mahlo, the Claims Conference representative in Germany, made a statement about the scandal that has hit Germany, and Bavaria in particular. Referring to "this virulent dilemma", he wrote "As long as cover-ups and concealment predominate, even in high-ranking institutions such as the Bavarian State Paintings Collections, it will hardly be possible to find solutions that are satisfactory and concilliatory, let alone just and fair as defined by the Washington Principles". To read the statement in full, click here.

28 June 2016: Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE) calls for three fundamental changes in the way Germany handles research and restitution

On 25 June CLAE published its groundbreaking original research showing that Germany returned Nazi looted artworks to the high-ranking Nazi families who stole it rather than to the families from whom this was taken, and that this remarkable scandal has been covered up by Germany for decades. At the same time, the looted families had their claims thrown out or impossible hurdles created to prevent them recovering their artworks - and this continues today. CLAE is now calling for a full accounting of these shameful transactions with the high-ranking Nazis and the way they have been hidden, as well as for three essential changes in the way Germany handles research and restitution:

1. Lists of all artworks in German collections whose provenance is unclear or problematic must be published so families have a chance of finding their missing paintings; there can be no more waiting for individual item provenance research to be done first;

2. All relevant records must be open and accessible. In particular, the records of the Bavarian Museums must be handed over to the State Archives in accordance with German law;

3. Germany must create a single, fair, transparent and accountable claims process that applies to all collections throughout Germany, at both federal and state level, so that all families can be confident their claims will be dealt with justly.

Germany already made these commitments 18 years ago at the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, but has not implemented them. CLAE says that without total transparency and accountability, the victims of the Nazi looting will continue to be denied the justice that is so long overdue.


To read CLAE's press release about its research, click here. To read the full story published over three pages in Sueddeutsche Zeitung in English or German, click here.

15 June 2016: Kunsthalle Bremen returns and repurchases Isaak Major drawing from the Arthur Feldmann collection

The drawing 'Felsige Waldlandschaft mit weitem Ausblick' by Isaak Major was identified by the research of Arthur Feldmann's grandson Uri Peled Feldmann. Part of a lot of drawings from the Feldmann collection sold at Sotheby's London in 1946, the drawing was then sold to the British Rail Pension Fund at a subsequent Sotheby's sale in 1975. It was later sold to the dealer C. G. Boerner in Dusseldorf who sold it to Bremen. To read the press release issued by Bremen, click here.

13 June 2016: Speech by Monika Grütters in Bonn at Art, Provenance and Law conference

In her speech Grütters reaffirmed the need for better conditions for provenance research and for restitution to be strengthened and anchored in research, teaching and training. She said that German had long known of the great losses of its Jewish fellow citizens during the Nazi era, but that it had taken Germany many years to develop an awareness of its moral obligation to undertake research and restitution. To read the full speech, click here.

The German Advisory Commission recommends the restitution of the 'Bacchanale' painting by Lovis Corinth to the heirs of Arthur Salomon of Berlin

29 April 2016: The German Advisory Commission has recommended the restitution of the 'Bacchanale' painting by Lovis Corinth to the heirs of Arthur Salomon of Berlin. A businessman, he and his family were persecuted by the Nazis and their property sold at a forced sale at Lepke auction house in 1936. They fled to the Netherlands, but were deported following the Occupation. The children were murdered in Auschwitz and Arthur Salomon perished in Bergen-Belsen. Only his wife survived. The painting was acquired in 1957 by the Gelsenkirchen Museum which refused to restitute, claiming the family had been properly compensated. The Commission disagreed, saying that Arthur Salomon had not received a reasonable price for the painting in 1936 and his heirs had not received adequate compensation in 1962. To read the decision, click here.

Finding Aid to the French government archival records on art looting in France during the Occupation, research, restitution and compensation

22 April 2016: A Finding Aid to the French records on art looting, research, restitution and compensation has been published by the Archives Directorate of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Direction des Archives, Ministere des affaires etrangeres et du developpement international). The records are mostly housed at the Centre des archives at La Corneuve, Paris, apart from documents relating to the French protectorates of Morocco and Tunisia which are held at the Diplomatic Archives in Nantes (Centre des archives diplomatiques de Nantes). To view the Finding Aid, click here.

20 April 2016: Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz returns two drawings and 26 photographs to the heirs of Professor Curt Glaser

20 April 2016: The Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) has returned two drawings and 26 photographs to the heirs of Professor Curt Glaser. The two drawings were found in the Kupferstichkabinett as a result of provenance research and had been acquired by the Nationalgalerie Berlin at the forced sale of Professor Glaser's property in 1933. The photographs were found following a search of the Art Library to which Professor Glaser gave some 10,000 photographs before his forced emigration in 1933. The SPK in its press release stated that Professor Glaser had lost his position and emigrated in 1933, following a forced sale of his possessions. After a first restitution of works to Glaser's heirs in 2012, and in recognition of his persecution and great service to the Berlin State Museums, a fair and just solution had been agreed by which the heirs received compensation and the works remained in the SPK. To read the decision, click here.

21 March 2016: Limbach Commission issues a decision not to restitute a Juan Gris painting to the Flechtheim heirs

The Limbach Commission turned down the claim by the Flechtheim heirs for the Juan Gris painting 'Violinist and Inkwell' now in the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf which acquired it in 1964. The heirs had claimed that the sale of the painting in London in 1934 was due to Nazi persecution but the Commission rejected this. To read the decision, click here

22 March 2016: Press Release issued by Flechtheim heirs protesting the decision and operation of the Limbach Commission

The Flechtheim lawyers have issued a press release in response to the Limbach Commission's decision on their claim for a Juan Gris painting in the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf. They had withdrawn from the Commission's process at the end of February because of what they experienced as flaws in its operation and procedural irregularities, yet the Commission went ahead and issued its decision. The lawyers call for those responsible to resign and state that 'the German way of dealing with looted art is tarnished'. To read the release, click here.

17 March 2016 Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) puts 65,000 works of modern art online

Of MoMA’s evolving collection of almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art by over 10,000 artists, 65,000 works are now available online. The information provided includes medium, dimensions, object number, department, provenance information, etc. To search the collection, click here.

10 March 2016: Launch of Looted Cultural Assets website at http://lootedculturalassets.de

Four German libraries - the Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Library, the Freie Universität Berlin University Library, the Potsdam University Library, and the Berlin Central and Regional Library - have come together to find a 'new way for libraries to bring justice to their mandates'. The provenance details of over 12,000 books which may be looted are included in the new site, which is well designed and in both English and German. The books were identified through the libraries' provenance research projects and came to the libraries in many different ways.

The aim of the work is the restitution of any Nazi looted books as well as to find a fair and equitable solution for the rightful owners or their heirs. The full details are entered in the shared Looted Cultural Assets database and made searchable. The site provides an alphabetical overview of all persons and institutional entities included in the database. It can also be searched by object types - books, magazine volumes, etc. or just provenance notes like dedications, autographs, stamps, etc. - all of which are displayed on the site. To visit the site, go to http://lootedculturalassets.de/. To read more about the launch, click here.

9 March 2016: Open letter from five lawyers to the German government, Parliament and others, calling for reform of the Limbach Commission

Stating that the Commission lacks "fairness, transparency and justice" and does not meet "the internationally accepted standards and requirements of similar arbitration boards, run by the state", the five lawyers from Europe and the USA call for nine '"fundamental changes" to the operation of the Commission. The changes include appointing representatives of the victims to the Commission, the possibility of unilateral submission of claims, making decisions binding on public institutions, ensuring the Commission's independence by separating it from the Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (which provides its secretariat), bilingual process in German and English and equitable bye-laws. For full details of the changes demanded, see the letter here.  

The Knoedler Gallery Archive Series VII. Photographs Finding Aid

25 February 2016: The Getty Research Institute announced that the latest part of the archive of one of America's oldest and preeminent galleries, M. Knoedler & Co has been processed and partially digitized.  Series VII of the Knoedler Gallery Archive consists of 1,579 boxes of photographs of artworks dealt by the firm, including images of works purchased, sold, and examined but not acquired.


Browse the finding aid.


View digitized portions of the archive.

Find out more about the archive.

Read more about M. Knoedler & Co. on the blog, The Getty Iris.

Transcript of the lecture delivered by World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder at the Kunsthaus Zürich on 2 February 2016.

In only his second public speech ever on art restitution, Ronald Lauder questioned the keenness of Bern to take the Gurlitt collection when it 'was probably stolen from Jewish homes by the Nazis'. The fact that only five works have so far been clearly identified as looted is, he says, likely due to the fact that most of the works in the collection are prints or drawings, which makes them hard to trace. Because of Bern's decision, he began to look at Switzerland’s role with 'lost art' and urges that term no longer be used, as it so misrepresents the thefts and 'sanitizes the crime', 'None of this art was “lost”', he says, so 'let's refer to it as stolen art'. Equally Switzerland should not continue to make the artificial distinction between art that was looted (Raubkunst) and art that was subject to a forced sale (Fluchtgut).

During the war, 'Switzerland quickly became a major center for Nazi stolen art' and justice remains to be done. Cases show 'a troubling lack of shame...these paintings should be given back to their rightful owners'. 'If people are honest, if they really want to solve this issue, if they have a conscience, then they should stop hiding behind excuses.' Reiterating the Washington Principles, he set out six requirements for fair and equitable solutions in Switzerland - and any country:

1. Stolen art must include all art losses caused by Nazi-persecution
2. Provenance research must be conducted pro-actively
3. Sufficient funds must be provided for provenance research
4. There must be complete transparency on all aspects of provenance research by means of one centralized internet database
5. One independent commission must be established to provide fair solutions
6. Auction houses must be open about looted works that they identify

To read the lecture, click here.

Final report of the Gurlitt Task Force 14 January 2016

The final report of the Gurlitt Task Force, which began work in November 2013, has been published. 72 pages long, it is only in German, thereby continuing the Task Force's inward-looking record and failure to ensure communication to those most personally interested in its detailed findings - the families who were looted and who generally do not read German.
The Task Force's little known website - all enquiries have always been referred to the lostart.de website which made no reference to it - provides a short English language 'Fact Sheet'. This summarises the research by numbers and in an unclear way. Our attempt to clarify the findings suggests:
Of the 1,258 artworks found in Munich, 507 could be ruled out as looted because they came from German museums or the Gurlitt family; 499 were identified as possibly looted, of which 4 were definitively looted, 27 are very likely to be looted, and 344 are still unclear after some research; 252 still need to have research undertaken. Of the 186 artworks found in Salzburg, 1 is definitively looted, 45 are very likely to be looted, 1 is not, and 139 are still uncertain.
The Fact Sheet also summarises the claims made and how they were dealt with. Of the 118 claims made, 62 (53%) were 'resolved'. However, 15 of the 62 stated to be 'resolved' are also stated not to be as they are 'subject to a review procedure'. 1 artwork is stated to be looted but the family 'had not lodged a claim'. Has the Task Force contacted the family? The Fact Sheet does not say. The Fact Sheeet also does not say how many of the 5 works which are definitively looted have been returned. 56 (47%) of the 118 claims made are not resolved because the research is not completed.
The record set out in the Fact Sheet, the result of two years' work, underscores the Task Force's lack of urgency and achievement in only certainly identifying five looted works of art and not even returning all of them. 
To read the Report, click here. To read the Fact Sheet, click here.

Germany's Lost Art Foundation's "Provenienzrecherche Gurlitt"

5 January 2016: The German Lost Art Foundation has announced how it will undertake the provenance research into the Gurlitt collection following the 31 December 2015 winding up of the Task Force “Schwabinger Kunstfund”, for which the Foundation had assumed responsibility on 1 April 2015. The statement is below. The details and process remain as opaque as they were under the much criticised Task Force:

'In January 2016, the German Lost Art Foundation will launch a new project titled “Gurlitt Provenance Research” which will continue the investigation of the Gurlitt art collection. Research efforts will focus on determining the provenance of works which have not yet been conclusively clarified. Of primary interest are works for which there is a suspicion that they went missing as a result of Nazi persecution or for which such claims have been made.
The project team is headed by Dr. Andrea Baresel-Brand, who is responsible for controlling, administrating and coordinating tasks, and supported by researchers who will conduct provenance research on specific works. A panel of distinguished international experts will review the project’s research findings with regard to their credibility and the appropriate use of scientific methodology. The project will draw on the personal expertise and familiarity with the Gurlitt art collection gained over the past two years. The research findings will be published in German and English following their evaluation by the review experts.
The project is financed by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and is scheduled to run for at least one year.'

Online Resources and Case News
Country-specific information is available on this site for 48 countries, from Albania to Yugoslavia, in the Information by Country section. Details of important, non country-specific, online resources are available in the International section of the site which contains several categories of information.  For example: 

Case News: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or settled outside the courts with copies of reports and rulings. Full details of a comprehensive range of cases can be found in the News Archive, which is fully searchable by name of family, artwork, museum, city, etc.


Lawsuits
: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or being settled in court with copies of court filings and judgements.

Research Resources: provides details of family records, tracing services, art historical resources, texts of post-war reports, and books and publications.

Web Resources: provides details of various online databases of looted paintings, results of provenance research in countries around the world, archival records available online and other research materials.

Seeking Owners of Identified Looted Property: provides lists of names of individuals whose looted property has been identified in institutions in Germany and whose heirs are being sought. 

Other categories of information include Governmental Conferences and Hearings, Laws, Policies and Guidelines, Art Trade, and Press, Television, Radio and Film.  To explore all these sections, click here.

The site is regularly updated with new resources and developments.  To provide details of resources or cases to add to the site, please email info@lootedart.com.

© website copyright Central Registry 2016