A Question of Provenance: Holocaust-era Art, Research, and Restitution, Evening Program at the Smithsonian, Washington DC, 10 May 2017

Events and Conferences


Office of the Provost / Under Secretary for Museums and Research, Washington, D.C.

SPRI Contact: Andrea Hull


Presented by SPRI, in cooperation with the Smithsonian Associates and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

6:45-8:45 pm

For tickets

Identifying the rightful owner of a work of art following times of war and genocide—when people, objects, and documents are destroyed or dispersed around the world—is anything but simple. Provenance research on a work of art is a standard museum practice, which aims ideally to establish an unbroken chain of ownership from the work’s creation through the present. In the case of looted artworks, that information can also play a part in its restitution. In this program, six art historians who served on Germany’s international advisory group for the "Schwabinger (Gurlitt) Art Trove" Task Force will unfold stories of the lives of Jewish collectors, German art dealers, and the art-world web that connected them. They will discuss the challenges and opportunities provenance research brings to their work and institutions, and how these play out at the international level, and with the public.

Panelists are Jane Milosch, Director, Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative; Meike Hoffmann, Professor, Degenerate Art Research Center, Free University of Berlin, and author of Hitler’s Art Dealer: Hildebrand Gurlitt, 1895–1956; Sophie Lillie, Independent scholar and specialist in pre-war private collecting and patronage in Vienna, and author of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer; Shlomit Steinberg, Senior Curator of European art, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and curator of two exhibitions on looted art; Yehudit Shendar, Emeritus Deputy Director and Senior Art Curator, Yad Vashem Museum (Israel National Holocaust Authority), Jerusalem; and Andrea Baresel-Brand, Director, Gurlitt Provenance Research Project, Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (German Center for Lost Art). 

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