News

Austria returns Nazi stolen art to French heirs
The Local 28 April 2016
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L'Université rend deux portraits de momies
Tribune de Genève 26 April 2016
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Mummy portraits stolen by Nazis returned to heirs
Swissinfo 26 April 2016
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Family makes claim on Israel Museum’s Nazi-looted Haggadah
JTA 22 April 2016
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The Oklahoma House of Representatives asks the US Senate to amend the HEAR Act
Oklahoma 21 April 2016
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Bonn and Bern postpone Gurlitt exhibition as court decision on will drags out
The Art Newspaper 21 Aprl 2014
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NY Art Dealer David Nahmad: “I Will Never Own Nazi Looted Art”- Panama Papers Say Otherwise
The Jewish Voice 20 April 2016
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Italian police recover Nazi-looted paintings in Milan
Reuters 18 April 2016
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NEEDED NOW: A Database of Nazi Looted Art Work
The Jewish Voice 20 April 2016
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Ground-breaking Cranach show sheds light on Soviet ‘trophy art’
The Art Newspaper 20 April 2016
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Art stolen from prince by Nazis turns up in Italian home
The Local 18 April 2016
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Im Namen des Vaters - In the Name of the Father
Der Spiegel 16 April 2026
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How Berlin Laid Groundwork for Holocaust With Theft of Jewish Property
The Forward 15 April 2016
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US Senate blocks the import of art and artefacts from Syria
The Art Newspaper 14 April 2016
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Websites and Resources

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

Erworben aus „jüdischem Vermögen“ Gra­fi­sche Blät­ter der Samm­lung Haymann - Acquired from 'Jewish property', graphic works from the Haymann collection, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Exhibition 16 April - 3 July 2016

Expressionist works that were acquired as 'Jewish property' in 1943 and only now restituted. For full details, 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

Call for Papers by 21 May 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.

Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference Amelia, Italy, 24-26 June 2016

Organised by ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art. Subject areas include provenance research/collecting history, art policing and illicit art trafficking. For full details, click here.

Legalisierter Raub: Der Fiskus und die Ausplünderung der Juden in Hessen 1933–1945 - Legalised Theft: The Finance Ministry and the Plundering of the Jews of Hesse 1933-1945 Exhibition, Mainz, Germany, 10 March-10 May 2016

Organised by the Fritz Bauer Institut Frankfurt, the Study- and Documentation Center on the History and Impact of the Holocaust. For full details, click here.

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

For full details of the conference and contact details, click here.

Publications

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.
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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.
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Hitlers Kunsthändler Hildebrand Gurlitt 1895 - 1956. Die Biographie
March 2016
Meike Hofmann, Nicola Kuhn.
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Rebuilding a Destroyed World: Rudolf Beres – A Jewish Art Collector in Interwar Kraków
February 2016
Agnieszka Yass-Alston .
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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 .
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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A Critical Assessment of US Intelligence's Investigation of Nazi Art Looting
April 2015
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Prisoners of War: Nazi-Era Looted Art and the Need for Reform in the United States
March 2015
Jessica Schubert.
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Nazi-Looted Art from East and West in East Prussia: Initial Findings on the Erich Koch Collection
February 2015
Patricia Kennedy Grimsted.
read more
Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany
January 2015
Jonathan Petropoulos.
read more
L'Impossible Réparation
January 2015
Jean-Marc Dreyfus. A history of French negotiations with Germany between 1944 and 2001 for reparations for deportations, spoliation, war crimes and seized bank accounts.
read more
Fair and Just Solutions? Alternatives to Litigation in Nazi-Looted Art Disputes: Status Quo and New Developments
December 2014
Editor Evelien Campfens.
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

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.

10 February 2016 UK Spoliation Panel rejects claim by the Silberberg heirs to an ivory gothic relief in the Ashmolean Museum sold at a Paul Graupe Berlin auction on 12 October 1935

The UK Panel turned down the claim stating that 'on the balance of probability..it was neither a forced sale nor a sale at an under-value and that Max [Silberberg] received the proceeds of sale, we have reached the conclusion that the moral claim for the restitution of this small medieval ivory to the Estate of the daughter-in-law of Max is insufficiently strong to warrant a recommendation of restitution or the making of an ex-gratia payment'.
Max Silberberg sold his large and distinguished art collection over four sales at Paul Graupe Berlin in 1935 and 1936 following the forced sale of his home in Breslau to the SS earlier in 1935 and his having had to move to a small rented apartment. Since 1999, there have been 28 successful claims for works from these sales, 10 of which were for works in the October 1935 sale. These have been agreed by entities ranging from the German Federal government to German, Swiss, American, Israeli and Liechtenstein museums as unarguably forced sales, or 'Jew auctions'. In the first restitutions of this period, of a Van Gogh drawing and a Hans von Marées painting from the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, said that "The expiration of legally set deadlines cannot be a reason that injustices are not set right" and the spokesman for the Foundation asserted that "It goes without saying that this blatant injustice will be made right. Without a question the two works belong to [the heir] Mrs Silberberg". The Spoliation Panel in their report made no reference to any of these prior decisions but attribute the sale of the ivory to 'personal financial difficulties necessitating the sale of his collection' while acknowledging that 'Nazi oppression may have contributed to the difficulties of Max Silberberg'.
To read the report, click here.

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.

20 January 2016: Dutch Restitution Committee recommends restitution of antique jewel to heirs of Jewish art dealer Kurt Walter Bachstitz

                                      
The heirs had previously applied for restitution of the cameo, now in Leiden, but that request was rejected in 2009. The Committee has recommended its return now because of new information coming to light showing that Bachstitz sold it for NLG 6,000 to the German museum director Hans Posse, Adolf Hitler’s art buyer in 1941 to pay for his very sick son to stay in a Swiss sanatorium. In the Committee’s opinion the choice of neutral Switzerland cannot be considered in isolation from the situation that was threatening Jews in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands and concluded that there was involuntary loss of possession as a result of the Nazi regime. Since it is plausible that Bachstitz spent the proceeds of the sale on his son’s stay in safety in Switzerland, the Committee recommended that the heirs should not be made to repay the sum concerned.
The heirs had also requested the return of 14 other works of art from the NK collection. Because there was no indication that the sale by Bachstitz took place forcibly, the Restitution Committee advised the minister not to restitute these works of art.
To read the recommendation, 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