News

U.S. Solicitor General’s Office Advocates Broad Impunity for Nazi Art Thefts
Art Law Report 28 May 2020
click for story
Gurlitt trove: Research on Nazi-looted art ends
Deutsche Welle 28 May 2020
click for story
Research on Gurlitt Trove of Art Possibly Looted by Nazis Concludes, Offering Few Answers
ARTnews 27 May 2020
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A Years-Long Research Project Into the Gurlitt Trove Has Ended Without Being Able to Resolve ‘a Very Large Gray Area’ Around 1,000 Works
Artnet 26 May 2020
click for story
Research formally ended into controversial Nazi art collection
Swissinfo 26 May 2020
click for story
Ketterer Kunst Auction - Fair and Just Agreements for Works by Lovis Corinth and Max Liebermann
Ketterer Kunst 18 May 2020
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UK galleries and auction houses can reopen from 1 June, government says
The Art Newspaper 12 May 2020
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Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite, 92, Last of the ‘Monuments Women,’ Dies
New York Times 8 May 2020
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Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste bewilligt in der ersten Förderrunde 2020 rund 2,87 Millionen Euro für 25 Projekte der Provenienzforschung im Bereich „NS-Raubgut“
Lost Art Foundation 6 May 2020
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The Nazis Wanted to Put This Painting in a Museum Dedicated to Hitler. Now It’s the Star Lot of One of the First Live Auctions Since Lockdown
Artnet 5 May 2020
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Provenienzforschung 2019 in Bayern: 362 restituierte Objekte, 36 Forschungsprojekte, über 120 Suchmeldungen
Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst 4 May 2020
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David Toren, Who Fought to Recover Nazi-Looted Art, Dies at 94
New York Times 30 April 2020
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Stiftung Saarlaendischer Kulturbesitz gibt Werke von Max Slevogt an die Nachfahren von Julius Freund zurück - The Saarland Cultural Heritage Foundation returns Max Slevogt works to the heirs of Julius Freund
Stiftung Saarlaendischer Kulturbesitz and the Heirs of Julius Freund 23 April 2020
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Polish bill that blocks Holocaust property restitution referred to committee
JTA 20 April 2020
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Poland blocks motion to stop restitution of some property lost during Shoah
JTA 19 April 2020
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National Gallery of Art will return Nazi-looted Picasso drawing to heirs of German-Jewish banker
JTA 1 April 2020
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National Gallery of Art Returns Picasso Work to Settle Claim
New York Times 31 March 2020
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Websites and Resources

Lexicon of Austrian Provenance Research - Lexikon der österreichischen Provenienzforschung
A digitised encyclopaedia of provenance research on individuals and institutions in Austria between 1930 and 1960
click to visit
Weltkunst 1927-1944
The journal of the German and international art market digitised by the Heidelberg University Library, making it possible to search for artworks, collectors, auctions or museums from the Weimar Republic to the Nazi era.
click to visit
Bundesarchiv B323 Records on Nazi looting and restitution
Files, documents and photographs from various sources that contributed to the identification, clarification of  ownership and restitution of looted cultural property after 1945 in Germany.
click to visit
Mapping the Lives
Biographical details of over 400,000 people from the 1939 German Minority Census, expanded with data from verifiable archival sources.
click to visit
Looted Cultural Assets
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 created a joint website with the provenance details of over 12,000 books which may be looted. For more information click here.
click to visit
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

Jüdisches Kulturerbe: Sammlungen und ihre Orte (Jewish cultural heritage: collections and their locations), Conference, Munich, 6-8 July 2020

The fourth international workshop of the Network of Jewish Cultural Heritage will explore the diverse collections of Jewish cultural heritage as a reflection of history and culture and aims to examine them from different scientific perspectives. For full details, click here.

Jewish dealers and the European Art Market, Workshop, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 14-15 September 2020

On Jewish dealers and their contribution to the development of the art market in Europe in the period c.1850-1930. Speakers are invited to reflect on the mechanisms by which Jews were able to enter the art trade in the late 19th century and become influential within it; the commercial and familial bonds forged within and between Jewish businesses in the urban centres of Europe; and the nature of the relations between Jewish and non-Jewish actors, in order to illuminate any distinctive practices and the incidence of anti-Semitism. For full details, click here.

Rose Valland, Monuments Woman – Résistance and Restitution, Conference, Berlin, 18 September 2020

To consider the achievements of ‘Monuments Woman’ Rose Valland (1898-1980). German language only. Registration deadline 21 August 2020. For full details, click here.

Raub ohne Restitution? Die Justiz und die Rückerstattung von ‚arisiertem‘ Vermögen (Looting without Restitution? The Judiciary and the Return of 'Aryanised' Assets) , 22. Jahrestagung des „Forum Justizgeschichte“, Deutsche Richterakademie in Wustrau am Ruppiner See, 25-27 September 2020

The role played by the German judiciary in the delayed restitution of looted art by Germany, from resistance to it after the war fuelled by persisting antisemitism and the direct continuity of the personnel who managed the looting and were now managing the restitution, to its legal handling in the courts where formal disputes about 'ascertainable assets' were heard, and the application of Allied restitution law in the former East Germany after reunification. Call for papers by 13 April 2020, For full details, click here.

Die Museen und der franzoesische Kunstmarkt waehrend der deutschen Besatzung/ Les musées et le marché de l’art français sous l’Occupation allemande, Online Workshop, Berlin, 8-9 October 2020

On the operation of the French art market during the occupation, including its German regulation, museum acquisition strategies, financing, export licences and transport of purchases, German and French players (dealers, museum directors, civil servants) and their networks on the Paris art market, and procurement management in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France in the post-war period up to the present day. Call for papers by 30 June 2020. For full details, click here.

Provenance research: debating a practical science, Symposium, Swiss Institute for Art Research Zurich, 4-5 November 2020

On the purpose and expanding role of provenance research. Call for papers by 30 June 2020. For full details, click here.

Jahrestagung des Arbeitskreises für Provenienzforschung e.V., Jubiläum – 20 Jahre Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung, Hamburg, 16-18 November 2020

A conference on 'Expropriation, Transfer, Transit - People, Objects, Places and Events' to mark the 20th anniversary of the Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung (Provenance Research Working Group). Call for papers by 1 May 2020. For full details, click here.

Terms of Art: Understanding the Mechanics of Dispossession During the Nazi Period, Symposium, 1-2 December 2020, HCPO, New York

To explore the methods of involuntary loss from a historical, art historical and practical basis. Registration now open here. For further details about the symposium, click here.

Concealed Histories: Uncovering the Story of Nazi Looting, Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum London, 6 December 2019-10 January 2021

Curated by Jacques Schuhmacher and Alice Minter, Curator of the Gilbert Collection, the display – the first of its kind by a UK museum – uncovers eight stories of Jewish collectors and their families under the Nazis and forms part of the V&A's commitment to proactive research into the provenance of the items in its care. For full details, click here.

Deposits. A form of translocation of cultural assets and its significance for Swiss museums (1933-1960), Conference, Kunstmuseum Bern, 11-12 March 2021

On the history of institutions and collecting, including issues such as which collectors moved their art collections to Switzerland and which to other countries, the role of dealers, politicians or artists as agents in the divestiture or translocation of works transported abroad, the political and legal factors affect the movement of works in or out of the country. Call for papers by 30 June 2020. For full details, click here.

Publications

Kunstfund Gurlitt. Wege der Forschung“ (Gurlitt Art Trove: Research Pathways)
May 2020
Eds Andrea Baresel-Brand, Nadine Bahrmann and Gilbert Lupfer. Reflecting the latest research and illuminating lesser-known aspects of the Gurlitt case. 
read more
Fritz Bauer: The Jewish Prosecutor Who Brought Eichmann and Auschwitz to Trial
April 2020
Ronen Steinke, translated by Sinead Crowe. Fritz Bauer (1903–1968) played a key role in the arrest of Adolf Eichmann and the initiation of the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. There was a Jewish Museum exhibition in 2014 and then a film about Fritz Bauer as an Unlikely Movie Hero. Now an English translation of Ronen Steinke’s acclaimed biography has been published by Indiana University Press.
read more
Dissent and Displacement
February 2020
Monica Petzal. Celebrating storytelling and the ways in which we reflect on our lives, Monica Petzal explores German-Jewish refugee heritage, the themes of persecution, opposition and persistence through a series of 36 large-scale handmade lithographs. The book complements the exhibition 'Dissent and Displacement - A Modern Story'.
read more
The Nazi Confiscation of Wanda Landowska’s Musical Collection and Its Aftermath
January 2020
Carla Shapreau . About the renowned harpsichordist and piano soloist, Wanda Landowska, a Polish Jew, whose musical collection was confiscated by the Nazi Sonderstab Musik in Paris in May 1940 and transported to Germany, some of it found by the Allies in May 1945. Carla Shapreau documents this history,what was recovered and how much remains missing today.
read more
Terezín Declaration – Ten Years Later: Conference Proceedings
January 2020
The published proceedings of the international academic conference held in Prague on 18-19 June, 2019 which reviewed progress since the 2009 Terezin Declaration are available here.
read more
The Demise of the World of the Gutnajers: The Warsaw Art Market in World War II
January 2020
Nawojka Cieslinska-Lobkowicz. Nawojka Cieslinska-Lobkowicz explores the salons of the brothers Bernard and Abe Gutnajer, among a substantial number of Jewish art and antiques dealers who operated in pre-World War II Warsaw. Virtually everyone in their milieu perished in the Warsaw ghetto or Treblinka. Taking their place were new “Aryan” dealers and a clientele of “new” money. The Warsaw art market under the German occupation experienced a particular growth between the start of the Jewish ghetto’s liquidation in mid-1942 and the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, as “abandoned” property flooded the market.
read more
Warum ein „Restatement of Restitution Rules for Nazi-Confiscated Art"? Das Beispiel „Fluchtgut" (The example of 'Flight goods')
January 2020
Matthias Weller and Anne Dewey. Matthias Weller and Anne Dewey write about the concept of 'Flight Goods' in the context of the German government-funded project to 're-state the Washington Principles'.
read more
Museumsblätter. Mitteilungen des Museumsverbandes Brandenburg
December 2019
Provenienzforschung: Bilanz und neue Wege: NS-Raubgut in technikhistorischen Sammlungen, Kriegsverluste märkischer Sammlungen, SBZ und DDR im Fokus der Provenienzforschung, Globale Geschichte in lokalen Museen?
read more
Collecting and Provenance: A Multidisciplinary Approach
November 2019
Edited by Jane Milosch and Nick Pearce. The book explores the subject as a cross-disciplinary activity and raises wide-ranging issues including aspects of authenticity, cultural meaning and material transformation and economic and commercial drivers, as well as collector and object biography.
read more
Morton Bernath. Ein Kunsthistoriker wird Kunsthändler
October 2019
Anja Heuß. About the Jewish art historian and dealer Morton Bernath, who had to liquidate his dealership in Stuttgart in 1933. Parts of his stock were auctioned at Hugo Helbing in July 1934.
read more
Documenting the Violin Trade in Paris: The Archives of Albert Caressa and Émile Français, 1930-1945
October 2019
Carla Shapreau, Christine Laloue, and Jean-Philippe Échard. Carla Shapreau, Christine Laloue, and Jean-Philippe Échard confront the subject of provenance in the pre-war and World War II eras through the lens of one of France’s most important violin dealers.  This case study bridges the archival gap between historical records held by the Smithsonian Institution and the Musée de la musique penned by the Parisian violin dealers Caressa & Français and later Emile Français.
read more
The Transfer of Jewish-owned Cultural Objects in the Alpe Adria Region
September 2019
Proceedings of the 2017 Lucca conference with papers by Victoria Reed, Gisèle Lévy, Iva Pasini Trzec, Darija Alujevic, Antonija Mlikota, Dario Brasca, Camilla Da Dalt, Cristina Cudicio, Elena Franchi, Gabriele Anderl, Anneliese Schallmeiner, Irene Bolzon, Fabio Verardo, Antonia Bartoli, Francesca Coccolo and Caterina Zaru. Subjects include Jewish collections in Croatia and Trieste, confiscation of Austrian Jewish collections in Trieste, the dispossession of Italian Jews, and collaborators, post-war trials and restitution.
read more
Hitler's Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich
September 2019
On the fate of the Gurlitt collection and the definitive story of art in the Third Reich and Germany’s ongoing struggle to right the wrongs of the past.
read more
Circulation of Cultural Objects in Russian Law – An Overview
August 2019
Yulianna Vertinskaya. An introduction to the Russian Federation’s cultural property legislation, focusing on the civil and criminal law provisions for cultural property acquisition, commerce, and protection.
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 Bibliographies on all aspects of looted art, the art trade, archives and restitution, click here.

For details of the most recent international resources, click here and also see below, Online Resources and Case News.

To subscribe to our looted art newsletter, click here.

NEW

May 2020 Newsletter No. 6 of the European Network of Resitution Committees

Issued under the current Austrian chairmanship, the newsletter includes a news section, two cases studies, of a Jacobs Lierens claim in the Netherlands and a Josef and Alice Morgenstern recommendation in Austria, an article on provenance research at the V&A Museum, two conference reports and articles on art restitution in the US and tracing of owners of looted artworks in Austria.  To read the newsletter, click here.

ZADIK becomes part of the University of Cologne

ZADIK, the Central Archive for German and International Art Market Research, is the world's only specialized archive on the history of the art market. It was founded in 1992 as the central archive of the German and international art trade by the Federal Association of German Galleries and Art Dealers BVDG as a non-profit association. At the end of 2014, ZADIK became an affiliated institute of the Philosophical Department of the University of Cologne. Now ZADIK has been incorporated into the University of Cologne as an independent research institute of the Faculty of Philosophy. To read the University of Cologne Press Release, click here.

Doctoral Partnership Grant ‘Jewish Collectors and Donors at the National Gallery’ (National Gallery London & University of Durham)

This project interrogates the Jewish contribution to the making of the National Gallery. Despite the importance of many Jewish collectors associated with the Gallery – including Alfred de Rothschild, Ludwig Mond, Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted – these men and women have never been studied as a group in relation to the growth of the institution. Focusing on the period from the foundation of the National Gallery (1824) to the end of the Second World (1945), this project will investigate the role of Jewish donors, dealers and trustees in constructing the collections and in administering the institution. The project will consider what, if anything, was distinctive about Jewish taste in painting, and uncover the motivations behind acts of philanthropy on the part of this cultural minority. It will reconstruct the Jewish presence within networks of kinship, business and sociability that sustained the National Gallery in an era of dramatic expansion yet economic hardship and analyse the dynamics which resulted in paintings owned by eminent Jewish collectors entering the public domain in the era before the Holocaust. The project ‘Jewish Collectors and Donors at the National Gallery (c.1830-1945)’ will provide an opportunity to research a fascinating chapter in Jewish history and the history of collecting and allow the student to receive supervision and training across two outstanding institutions. Full details available here

Application deadline: 8 June 2020
Start date: 1 October 2020

11 May 2020: DHM Munich Central Collecting Point database online again

The Munich Central Collecting Point (CCP) database is back online, though with limited functionality. There are limitations in the extended search via the list function, such as the link to the database of the Linz collection. But searches via the Munich and Linz numbers work now, as do searches for single criteria in the advanced search.

20 April 2020: Alternatives to DHM databases for the Munich CCP, Linz and Göring collections

The German Historical Museum (DHM, Deutsches Historisches Museum) hosts databases of the records of the Munich Central Collecting Point, the Linz and Göring collections but the site has been down since the beginning of March and there is no imminent prospect of repair. There are two alternative locations for the records. One is Fold 3, which has the property cards, scanned and available, sourced from the US National Archives; the second is the Bundesarchiv where new high-resolution colour scans of the property cards are also available online at https://invenio.bundesarchiv.de (subject to registration) through the following search sequence:

  - Bundesrepublik Deutschland mit westalliierten Besatzungszonen (1945 ff)
   - Bundesrepublik Deutschland (1949 ff)
      - Finanzen, Wirtschaft
        - B 323 Treuhandverwaltung von Kulturgut bei der
          Oberfinanzdirektion München
Klassifikation:
 - 5 Restitution von Kunstwerken
    - 5.3 Restitutionsnachweise
      - B 323/647 bis B 323/694

10 April 2020: Launch of the Swiss Association for Provenance Research

The recently founded Schweizerischer Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung (Swiss Association for Provenance Research) has just launched its website and is now open for membership applications. The Association supports the establishment of provenance research and provides a network for provenance researchers in Switzerland. It also encourages the study of the art market and of exhibition and museum history. Details of the association and its board can be found at provenienzforschung.ch (in German and French).

25 February 2020: Ambassador J. D. Bindenagel files Amicus Curiae brief in Picasso claim against the Metropolitan Museum New York

James D. Bindenagel, US Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues from 1998-2002, and Conference Director for the 1998 Washington Conference on Nazi-Confiscated Art, has filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the petition for a hearing by the US Supreme Court by the heirs of Paul and Alice Leffmann in respect of their claim for Picasso's 'The Actor' now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Ambassador Bindenagel, now Director of the Center for International Security and Governance at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University in Bonn, Germany, argues ia that an earlier court decision that the heirs had waited too long to file their claim is inconsistent with US policy and the HEAR Act:


'The decision threatens to eviscerate the express will of Congress. By limiting the HEAR Act to one time-based defense, the court below will prevent Holocaust-era art claims from being heard on their merits—the precise result that the HEAR Act seeks to avoid. Given that the HEAR Act was a statute intended to have national reach, this Court’s intervention is warranted to prevent the Act
from becoming a dead letter.'


To read the brief, click here. To read the heirs' Petition for Writ of Certiorari, filed on 24 January 2020, click here, and here for the Appendix to the Petition.

 

27 January 2020: EHRI publishes early Holocaust testimony online

As the persecution and mass murder of European Jews unfolded, and shortly after the liberation, activists set out to document the fate of their communities. Jewish historical committees in several countries collected documents, artifacts and testimonies and brought together a major body of evidence - yet one which was later forgotten or used reluctantly. EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure) for the first time, brings together samples of early testmonies of Jewish witnesses and survivors taken before the 1960s. The testimonies are all on the site in their original form and langauge, and there is also an English translation of every text. To visit the site, click here.

23 January 2020: Launch of Proveana, a new research database at the German Lost Art Foundation (DZK)

Launched only in German and in Germany, and aiming to make the content "transparently accessible", the database contains the results of provenance and associated research projects funded by the DZK, the data from which has not previously been transparent or accessible. Search categories include people, businesses, events, collections, provenance information, objects, and further documentary sources, and content includes that of the Lost Art database.

Although the DZK states, in the only English language text about it on the site, that "Proveana provides assistance for those whose cultural assets were seized [and] for their descendants", no part of the database, including the registration to use it and press release about it, are in English, the language most accessible to the victims of the Nazis and their descendants. The DZK English language site makes no reference to Proveana, while the German language site features a number of documents about it. It seems that the DZK has no plans currently to change this. 

To read about Proveana and to access the database, click here.

Dutch Culture Minister establishes Committee to conduct comprehensive review of Dutch art restitution policy and report back by 1 October 2020

In a letter of 17 December 2019 to Holland's Council for Culture (Raad voor Cultuur), the Culture Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven reminds the Council that 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War during which large scale looting of cultural property took place from mostly Jewish owners. The current restitution policy was drawn up in 2001 in order to combat the injustice and the restitutions that had not been made by the Netherlands.

While much has been achieved, and amendments made since then, she states that there is much concern about whether the restitution policy in its current form is still adequate. In 2016 her predecessor as minister promised Parliament that the policy would be thoroughly re-evaluated in 2020, and she commands the Council to set up an advisory committee with the following remit:

  • To evaluate the current policy with particular regard to its legal and moral aspects.
  • To advise on possible improvements of the policy

She states that "In order to carry out this assignment, I expect you to hold discussions with the parties involved" and instructs the Committee 'to include at least the following aspects in its evaluation of the policy:

  • The relationship between Dutch policy and the international guideline, the Washington Principles.
  • A comparison of Dutch policy with restitution policy abroad, especially in countries with a similar  restitution policy.
  • The accessibility and familiarity of the restitution policy, with an eye for the suffering of the victims and the dialogue with their heirs.
  • The use of and need for other forms of individual restitution.
  • The three pillars of the policy and whether they require further development (the three pillars being compiling an inventory of looted art in Holland, identification identification of possible heirs of artworks in the NK collection, and restitution through the issuing of advice from the Restitutions Committee)
  • The relationship of the policy to developments in the field of heritage and restitution. Consider, for example, the recent Pechtold Committee advisory report.

She writes that she 'would like to receive the Council's advice on restitution policy before 1 October 2020, after which I will submit my response to the House of Representatives'.

To read the letter, in Dutch, click here.

13 January 2020: Fifth Newsletter of the Network of European Restitution Committes On Nazi-Looted Art

In his editorial, Clemens Jabloner, chair of the Austrian Art Restitution Board and Austrian Federal Minister of Justice, writes:

Further and closer cooperation on different questions can be expected in the future, not least the discussion of comparative law and the various legal solutions. At the conference marking the twentieth anniversary of the CIVS in November, my British counterpart in art restitution, Sir Donnell Deeny, stated publicly: “The particular element that our five committees have in common is that they are all chaired by serving or retired senior judges, and, thus, inherently qualified and disposed to provide to the parties a fair process and independent and impartial adjudication.” I am curious to find out what other similarities and points in common will be identified in the future.

To read the Newsletter, click here.

6 January 2020: Two Dutch Restitution Decisions - Dr Franz Oppenheimer and Herbert Gutmann

At the end of December 2019 the Dutch Restitutions Committee published their recommendation of restitution for 107 Meissen objects to the heirs of Dr Franz Oppenheimer. At the beginning of January 2020 they published their recommendation of restituiton for 14 Meissen objects to the heirs of Herbert Gutmann. In the Oppenheimer case the DRC concluded that it was 'highly likely' that Dr Oppenheimer 'lost possession of these objects involuntarily due to circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime' and that they should be restituted even if they were of importance to the Dutch state. In the Gutmann case, the DRC concluded the objects were 'auctioned off involuntarily, under pressure caused by circumstances directly connected with the Nazi regime. On these grounds, the Committee's opinion is that the Applicants' interests in the restitution of the objects must be given greater weight than the State's interests in retaining them'.

All 107 Oppenheimer object groups are currently 'part of the Dutch National Art Collection. Of these, 90 object groups are on loan to the Rijksmuseum. The other seventeen object groups are part of the Netherlands Art Property Collection (the NK collection) and are on loan to the Kunstmuseum Den Haag (thirteen object groups) and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (four object groups)'. The 14 Gutmann objects are currently 'in Het Loo Palace, the Rijksmuseum and the Zuiderzeemuseum. All objects are part of the Dutch National Art Collection and are the property of the Dutch State'.

To read the Oppenheimer recommendation, click here. To read the Gutmann recommendation, click here.

To read the Gutmann heirs' press release, click here.

12 December 2019: Digitisation of 3-volume Greater Berlin Address Books for 1932-1934

The Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin (ZLB) has now digitised three volumes of the Dietzler Auto-Adressbuch for Grosse-Berlin (Greater Berlin) for the years 1932-1934 and these are freely available to all users at https://digital.zlb.de/viewer/metadata/34280679/1/LOG_0000/

26 October 2019: Lost Music Project: The Nazi-Era Plunder of Music in Europe


                             Carel van Lier c. 1930. Looted and
                             restituted ivory hunting horn
                             ©The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld


The Lost Music Project seeks to reconstruct the history of musical material culture looted, confiscated, displaced, or otherwise lost during the Nazi era in occupied Europe, and the aftermath. Evolving research regarding musical manuscripts, printed music, music-related books and archives, musical instruments, and other musicalia documented in public and private archives will be posted to the Project website. In addition to new research, a goal of this project is to make both information and copies of primary source historical records accessible to the public for further research efforts and analysis. The project is led by Dr Carla Shapreau, Lecturer in art and cultural property law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Senior Fellow in the Institute of European Studies, where she is conducting cultural property research, and Curator of the Salz Collection in the Department of Music. For further informaton and to see the website, click here.

 

23 October 2019: Publication of the Fourth Newsletter of the Network of European Restitution Committes On Nazi-Looted Art

The latest Newletter has an editorial by chair of the German Commission, Hans-Jürgen Papier, who writes that the Network is important since "all commissions are dealing with similar problems in the handling of their cases, such as how to deal with gaps in the provenance of an item which, despite intensive research, can not be closed; also dealing with the so-called «Fluchtgut» is one of the aspects that are discussed intensively. For this reason, I am very confident that the network has created another important measure, which will strengthen the work of the commissions in terms of identifying and returning Nazi-looted property and finding fair and just solutions."
Elsewhere in the Newsletter is the 2018 annual report of France's CIVS; advanced notice of a report for the Network by Dr Charlotte Woodhead, to be published in November, on how each committee operates and the differences in approach in determining claims (Recommendation 3 of the 2017 Spoliation Action Plan); a report on the 2011 successful claim by the Budge heirs for three Meissen figures in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and the 'presentation' of the Austrian Art Restitution Act and the two bodies created as a result, the Commission for Provenance Research and the Advisory Board.

To read the Newsletter, click here.

17 October 2019: Claimants in the Guelph Treasure respond to Germany's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court

The claimants for the Guelph Treasure (Welfenschatz) in the possession of Germany's Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) have filed their opposition to the petition filed by the SPK and the Federal Republic of Germany in September 2019 seeking judicial review of a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholding jurisdiction over the claims. That court rejected in July 2018 and again in June 2019 the appeal by the SPK arguing that the US courts had no jurisdiction over the claim. Germany’s petition to the Supreme Court argues that the allegations concerning the Guelph Treasure were not a taking of property in violation of international law, but rather a question of the Nazis’ taking property from “their own nationals within their own territory.” In response, the claimants argue that the U.S. statute conferring jurisdiction applies to genocidal takings of property in the Holocaust, and that U.S. policy as reflected in the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act compels hearing the case.

The claimants also filed a request to return Germany to the lawsuit.  The same Court of Appeals last year ruled that the commercial activity of the SPK in the United States was insufficient under the law to obtain jurisdiction over Germany. The claimants address their argument that this reading is at odds with the statute’s text.  Germany will have the opportunity to respond in the next 30 days.

To read the claimants' brief in opposition to the German petition, click here. To read the claimants' cross-petition to return Germany to the lawsuit, click here.

10 October 2019: The Ludwig Ginsberg Collection

The Technical University of Berlin in collaboration with the Department of Modern Art History (Prof. Bénédicte Savoy) is undertaking a one-year project dedicated to the systematic examination and research of the Adolph Menzel Collection of the Berlin banker Ludwig Ginsberg (1873-1939). The extensive collection of Menzel's graphic works comprised a large number of rare prints and contained works on paper, some of them of exceptional quality and beauty. It was described in 1930 as the largest Menzel collection ever in private ownership. The Ginsberg Collection was auctioned off in several lots and is largely lost today. So far, works from the collection have appeared in the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin and at the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum in Düren. Both museums will restitute the works that have been added to their collections as a result of persecution.
The project also focuses on research into Ludwig Ginsberg's fate as a persecuted person and the aryanization of the Bank Gebrüder Ginsberg. The TU seeks proactive support for the project, especially from colleagues in provenance research and custodians of graphic collections. The project is funded by the Deutsche Zentrum Kulturgutverluste. Further information about the project and the Ginsberg family can be found here.

17 May 2019 University of Bonn: Research project on international practice in the restitution of Nazi-looted art: “Restatement of Restitution Rules”

A German government funded research project on international practice in the restitution of artworks stolen under the Nazi regime has been established. Led by Prof. Dr. Matthias Weller, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach professor of civil law, art and cultural property law at the University of Bonn, it aims "to provide a comprehensive, comparative analysis of international practice in the restitution of Nazi-looted art [and] to establish a generalized set of rules on how decisions are made based on considerations of fairness and justice. Once established, these rules can be used as guidance and support for those who make decisions and recommendations on matters of restitution."

For full details and to attend the presentation of the project in Bonn on 6 September, click here.

Seeking the owner of the 'O' Collection of Frankfurt am Main, Germany

On 18 and 19 November 1938, 43 works from the 'O.' collection of Frankfurt am Main, designated in the auction catalogue as 'non-Aryan' or 'Nichtarischer Besitz', were sold by the Hans Lange auction house in Berlin. They included paintings by Aert van der Neer, Jacob Ruysdael, Thomas Wijck, Franz von Lenbach, Adolf Lier, Caspar Scheuren, Carl Spitzweg and Adolf von Menzel. If anyone has information on the identity of the owner of the 'O' collection, please write to info@lootedart.com. To see the Lange catalogue, click here

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: 

Restitutions and 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.

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