Dispossessions of Cultural Objects between 1914 and 1989/1991 – Alpe Adria Region in Comparative Perspective, Conference, Ljubljana, 19-21 March 2018

Events and Conferences

The Conference Programme is now available as a pdf here.

The programme is also set out below:


Monday, March 19th

14.00 Welcome and introduction
Mimi Urbanc, Deputy Director, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana
Davor Kozmus, Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Republic of Slovenia
Iain B. Whyte, Research Committee of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art
Christian Fuhrmeister, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, München, Project Leader, Transfer of Cultural Objects in the Alpe Adria Region in the 20th Century
Barbara Murovec, Director, France Stele Institute of Art History ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, Slovenian Principal Investigator, Transfer of Cultural Objects in the Alpe Adria Region in the 20th Century
Chair: Christian Fuhrmeister

14.30 Introductory lecture: Michael Wedekind: Translocations in a Contested Space
15.15 Patrizia Dragoni and Antonija Mlikota: Politics and Museum Management in Interwar Zadar
15.35 Discussion
16.00 Coffee break

Chair: Meike Hopp
16.30 Cathleen Giustino: Unpacking the Case of Dr. Václav Wagner: Struggles over Confiscated Cultural Property and Heritage in Postwar Bohemia
16.50 Marcela Rusinko: Dispossessing Art Collectors in Communist Czechoslovakia
17.10 Kristina Uhlíková and Jan Uhlík: Confiscated Monuments of the German Minority in Czechoslovakia
17.30 Discussion
18.15 Where Have All the Artworks Gone? Disposessions and Translocations of Cultural Objects in Slovenia during the Second World War
Exhibition opening
19.15 Reception

Tuesday, March 20th

9.00 Podium: Dispossession and Art Market: Institutional Projects (organized by the Research Committee of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art [RIHA])

France Stele Institute of Art History ZRC SAZU and its TransCultAA Partners (Ljerka Dulibić, Christian Fuhrmeister, Donata Levi, Barbara Murovec): Transfer of Cultural Objects in the Alpe Adria Region in the 20th Century
Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (Gail Feigenbaum):
1. Provenance Index
2. Project on Art Dealers and the American Art Market
3. The German Sales Project and its Relevance to the Dispossession Theme

Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA), Paris (Ariane James-Sarazin and Célia Fleury): Objects Lost in Times of War in French Public Collections: Questions and Methods
Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich (Meike Hopp):
1. Reconstructing the late-April 1945 “Führerbau theft” and Research on the Object’s Whereabouts
2. The Photo Archive of Art Dealer Julius Böhler
3. Hugo Helbing: Annotated Catalogues

Discussion moderated by Christian Fuhrmeister and France Nerlich

11.00 Coffee break
Chair: Donata Levi
11.30 Gabriele Anderl: The Vienna Art Market between 1938 and 1945
11.50 Eva Toffali: “Trade” between Germany and Italy during Fascism: The Case of Alessandro Contini Bonacossi
12.10 Katharina Sophia Hüls: Flourishing Trade Relations between Venice and Vienna: The Activities of Art Dealer Dr. Benno Geiger (1882-1965) during the Second World War
12.30 Discussion
13.00 Lunch
Chairs: Gail Feigenbaum and Ljerka Dulibić
14.30 Dejan Ristić: The Devastation of the Collections of the National Library of Serbia during the First World War
14.50 Karin Leitner-Ruhe: A Missing Collection? Graz – Rogaška Slatina and Dobrna – Ljubljana
15.10 Renata Komić Marn and Tina Košak: For the Nation’s Welfare: Dealing with Cultural Objects in Interwar Slovenia
15.30 Iva Pasini Tržec: “Private Collections of Public Interest” in Zagreb and Their Destiny under Socialism
15.50 Discussion
17.00 Young Scholars’ Section
Cristina Cudicio: The Dissolution of a Jewish Collection: The Pincherle Family in Trieste
Anja Iskra: Safeguarding Cultural Assets in Maribor during the Second World War
Ivan Ferenčak: From German Art Market to the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters in Zagreb: Paintings from Ante Topić Mimara‘s Donation
Maria Tischner: Erika Hanfstaengl’s Activities in Udine and Trieste from 1943 to 1945
Doroteja Kotnik: The Ptuj Regional Museum under German Occupation
Margherita Colusso: Paintings from a Jewish Residence: New Findings
Discussion moderated by Donata Levi and Barbara Murovec
Short break
19.00 Documentary film Memories from the Ashes (Serbia, Filmske novosti, 2016; 28 minutes)
Discussion moderated by Ljerka Dulibić and Dejan Ristić

Wednesday, March 21st

Chair: Michael Wedekind
9.00 Katja Zirnsack: The Vienna Auction House Dorotheum and the “Masse Adria”: What We Know and What We Don’t
9.20 Anneliese Schallmeiner, Daria Brasca and Albena Zlatanova: Distribution of Shipments in a Transnational Perspective
9.50 Discussion
10.15 Coffee break
Chair: Franci Lazarini
10.45 Barbara Vodopivec: The Restitution of Cultural Objects from Austria to Yugoslavia after the Second World War: Rediscovered Archival Material
11.05 Elena Franchi: Why should it be all on us Istrians to pay for a war that was lost by everyone? The Activities of the Italian Delegation for the Restitution of Cultural Assets to Yugoslavia after the Second World War

11.25 Discussion
11.45 Final plenary discussion:
Where do we go from here? The Future of Dispossession Research
Moderated by Ljerka Dulibić, Christian Fuhrmeister, Donata Levi and Barbara Murovec

13.00 End of conference

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Background Text

International Conference in Ljubljana, France Stele Institute of Art History ZRC SAZU
Submission Deadline: November 12, 2017

The research project team Transfer of Cultural Objects in the Alpe Adria Region in the 20th Century (TransCultAA) invites applications for papers to be presented in Ljubljana in March 19-21 2018.

Transfer of Cultural Objects in the Alpe Adria Region in the 20th Century (TransCultAA) is a HERA – Humanities in the European Research Area –international and interdisciplinary research project of four countries (Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, together with the Commission for Provenance Research in Vienna, Austria, as associated partner). The four principal investigators are Christian Fuhrmeister, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich (project leader), Donata Levi, University of Udine, Barbara Murovec, France Stele Institute of Art History ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, and Ljerka Dulibić, Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters HAZU in Zagreb. The project is being funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 649307.

Our research agenda is focused on the Alpe Adria region during the 20th century, a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multinational area that has witnessed uniquely complex combinations of shifting antagonistic forces. While the political sphere had an enormous influence in shaping the ways in which cultural heritage was treated, art historians, experts in monument preservation, art dealers, cultural bureaucrats, and other protagonists were often complicit and played an active role in dispossessing individuals, private organizations, and even nation states of their property or the objects in their custody.

It is only in recent years, fuelled by the 1998 Washington Conference Principles, that research in this field has been intensified. But most if not all research efforts seem to adhere to a national agenda, or even adopt the perspective of a single institution (like a museum), and in many cases provenance research does still not transgress national borders.

The international conference would like to compare, discuss and analyse research on dispossessions of cultural objects in the 20th century both in the Alpe Adria region and in Central and Eastern Europe in general.

We are especially interested in the following questions: What is the status of cultural heritage in times of conflict? Who transferred or translocated which objects, when and why? Which explanations (if any) were – and are – given? Which narratives ensued? Where are the objects today? What is their current status? How do archival documents (from the region and beyond) help to understand (regional and national) uses of past?

The organizers would like to especially encourage speakers whose papers address dispossessions in the narrow sense (dislocations against the will of the owner – be it public or private, state or institution, dealer or collector). However, topics such as sales of cultural assets are also of interest. We also welcome specific case studies that draw larger methodological conclusions.

We invite researchers at all career stages and especially encourage younger colleagues and speakers from Central and (South)Eastern Europe to submit proposals for 20-minute papers, consisting of the title and abstract (no more than 1500 characters) together with a short CV, to our email address by November 12, 2017. The conference language is English. The selection will be made by December 3rd, 2017.

The organizers will subsidise accommodation costs of the speakers (maximum 3 nights), but only exceptionally (on special request, and because the need has been demonstrated) also travel expenses.

We plan to publish the papers in a peer-reviewed monograph, i.e. a regular thematic issue of the journal Acta historiae artis Slovenica. The journal is published by the France Stele Institute of Art History ZRC SAZU.

Organisation: France Stele Institute of Art History ZRC SAZU (Franci Lazarini, Barbara Murovec and Barbara Vodopivec) in association with partner institutions of the TransCultAA project.

Organising Committee: Ljerka Dulibić (, Christian Fuhrmeister (, Donata Levi ( and Barbara Murovec (

Source:  12 October 2017

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