The Provenance Research Training Program (PRTP) is an advanced training program whose main mission is to serve the international community of current and future professionals of various backgrounds who are or will soon be engaged in dealing with Nazi-era looted cultural property and related post-Holocaust issues. Fully aware that facing the complexities of cultural crimes relating to the period of 1933-1945 represents a difficult professional, legal, and ethical challenge, the initiators and supporters of the PRTP have tailored the program to the needs of those who want to gain greater proficiency in solving practical problems and to network in the international community of provenance researchers. The PRTP complements and does not compete with or copy already existing academic programs that offer BA and MA degrees in forensic ownership research of cultural assets. Emphasis is placed on hands-on experience encompassing methodological and practical research training; introduction to legal concepts; debates and instrumentalities at national and international levels; political, moral and ethical issues; and national and international restitution policies and principles.
To see the Tentative Schedule of the Inaugural Program, click here.
To go to the homepage of the Provenance Research Training Program, click here.
The Provenance Research Training Program (PRTP) was developed in the summer of 2011 by Marc Masurovsky, Historian and Chair of the Nazi-Confiscated and Looted Art Working Group of the ESLI Advisory Council, and Michaela Sidenberg, Curator of Fine Arts at the Jewish Museum in Prague and Member of the ESLI Administrative Board, in consultation with Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, Curator and Consultant and Chair of the Judaica and Jewish Cultural Property Working Group of the ESLI Advisory Council, and other experts in the relevant working groups of the ESLI Advisory Council.
The impetus to create the PRTP originated in the realization of the near-absence of training programs in Europe and the Americas that develop and refine critical research and analytical skills in the emerging discipline of provenance research (the documentation of the ownership history of an art object from inception to the present day). Ever since the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets of December 1998, there have been numerous calls to promote such programs, but to no avail. The Holocaust-Era Assets Conference of June 2009 in Prague reaffirmed the crying need for such a program, preferably one that would reflect the international nature of provenance research and that would lead to a worldwide community of specialists in this area. In that regard, the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI) emerged as the ideal instrumentality to initiate what is now an unprecedented effort to provide training assistance and support in provenance research to all those throughout the world who use it and benefit from it in their professional lives.
- To promote the use of research results and theoretical knowledge within the framework of restitution practices and debates;
- To provide service and support to the worldwide community of provenance researchers and specialists, as well as create an appropriate framework consistent with the implementation of the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art for guidelines and best practices for restitution currently under discussion as a direct result of the June 2009 Prague Holocaust-Era Assets Conference;
- To establish and maintain a global research network of experts and specialists;
- To support research activities and cooperation among researchers worldwide;
- To improve the research infrastructure;
- To provide and facilitate access to effective research tools;
- To establish a platform for sharing experience and information;
- To foster and support high levels of research synergies;
- To encourage transparent and well-monitored restitution practices.
The PRTP is designed mainly for
- Professional museum staff (curators, registrars)
- Professional staff in libraries and archives
- Professional staff in auction houses and art houses
- Practitioners in specialized fields (e.g., lawyers, insurance brokers, appraisers)
- Junior staff in NGOs and government organizations involved in post-Holocaust issues
- Government officials and civil servants with direct interest in cultural property issues
- Independent researchers
- Students of history, art history, and related fields that intersect with provenance research.
Topics to be Explored
The PRTP workshop curriculum will include, but not be limited to, the following topics. Successful applicants will explore:
- The international art market under Nazi rule: buying and selling art in Nazi controlled Europe
- Nazi cultural policy and so-called “degenerate art”
- The fate of Jewish artists during the Third Reich
- The destruction of Jewish communities, museums, archives, and libraries
- The organization of rationalized cultural plunder in Nazi-occupied Europe
- Postwar recovery, repatriation, and restitution of looted cultural assets
- The global art market: parallel vs. official
- How to research the ownership history of an art object: multi-disciplinary and multi-purpose archival methodologies
- Forensic investigative approaches to looted cultural assets
- Legal and ethical framework of the art restitution debate
Click here for further details of how and where to apply.
The program is funded by the Jewish Conference on Material Claims against Germany with support from the Koordinierungsstelle, Magdeburg.