WAG investigating collection for Nazi connections

Winnipeg Fre Press 6 February 2014

The Winnipeg Art Gallery

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The Winnipeg Art Gallery (TREVOR HAGAN / FREE PRESS FILES)

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is one of five Canadian art galleries that wants to know if any of the paintings hanging on their walls were looted by Nazis.

In a statement, the WAG says it doesn’t know if any works in the gallery’s collection were taken illegally during the Second World War, but it will investigate all of its paintings that have "incomplete provenances during the period of 1933 to 1945."

The WAG says its art collection does have paintings which have incomplete provenances for those years, meaning it doesn’t know who owned the art during that time.

But Stephen Borys, the WAG’s director and CEO, as well as the president of the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization, which launched the pilot research project, says "it should be noted that the WAG, like all leading art museums in Canada, has always been diligent in researching the provenance — or history — of their art collections.

"I am also concerned about misinformation ending up in the media creating a false impression that we, or any Canadian museum, has looted work in our collection. This is, to the best of our knowledge, not the case."

The pilot project is being funded by the federal government’s Museums Assistance Program.
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