Millions of Volumes, Infinite Words: The Nazi Looting of Libraries and Spoliation Research at the British Library, talk by Antonia Bartoli, Victoria & Albert Museum London, Sackler Centre,4 September 2019, 16.00-17.00pm

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While stories of paintings and fine art collections have received extensive scholarly and institutional attention, as well as public attention through the media, the history of the Nazi looting of books, manuscripts, archives, and other printed material is relatively obscure. Focusing on findings from the Henry Davis Collection of Bookbindings at the British Library, BL Spoliation Curator Antonia Bartoli’s seminar will discuss the widespread Nazi plunder of libraries and provenance research as it relates to printed material. In sharing case studies of items in the BL’s collection that were identified as having been spoliated during the Nazi period, the talk will further highlight the ethical, moral and legal considerations that arise in seeking just and fair solutions for the return of Nazi confiscated cultural property.

A specialist in Nazi-era provenance research, Antonia Bartoli is Spoliation Curator at the British Library. Prior to her position in London, where she researches the ownership history of books, manuscripts, maps, and other printed material, she has held research positions at the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Christie’s, New York; the International Foundation for Art Research, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and as a consultant for Art Recovery International, New York, London, and Venice. She completed graduate work in Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She also holds a Masters degree in the History of Art from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

External guests joining instructions:

Seminar Room 3 is located in the V&A's Sackler Centre.


Gilbert Provenance and Spoliation Research Seminar at the V&A:

This talk is part of the Gilbert Provenance and Spoliation Research Seminar which aims to provide a regular forum for researchers from numerous disciplinary backgrounds working on provenance and spoliation issues at different museums, universities, libraries, auction houses and both governmental and non-governmental organisations across the UK. The seminar provides a space for the presentation of cutting-edge research and discussion of methods, resources, current trends and the increasing challenges of this dynamic and changing field.


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