News

Gurlitt art collection ‘opportunity for Switzerland’
Swissinfo 22 October 2017
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Streit um Cézanne: Wem gehört «La Montagne Sainte-Victoire»? - Who owns Cézanne's 'Montagne Saint-Victoire'?
SRF 21 October 2017
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Begehbares Lexikon im Schloss - An accessible lexicon in the castle
Nordwest Zeitung 19 October 2017
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How French notaries benefited from Jewish property in the Holocaust
Arutz Sheva 15 October 2017
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Looted Benin bronzes to be lent back to Nigeria
The Art Newspaper 16 October 2017
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Why potential buyers of valued artwork must get a provenance review first
The Economic Times 15 October 2017
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Rudolf von Alt: Vom Sammeln und Tauschen - Rudolf von Alt: from collecting to exchange
Der Standard 15 October 2017
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Gurlitt’s Swiss dealer breaks silence on his client
Expatica 12 October 2017
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Gurlitts Berner Geschäftspartner bricht sein Schweigen - Gurlitt's business partner in Bern breaks his silence
SRF 11 October 2017
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Pissarro painting looted by Vichy regime fuels legal battle
AP 10 October 2017
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Nazi-looted Pissarro painting at center of Paris legal tussle
AFP 9 October 2017
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NGI holds on to ‘Nazi’ works
The Sunday Times 8 October 2017
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Geraubtes Wissen - Stolen Knowledge
Technische Museum Wien 5 October 2017
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Christie’s to auction long-lost painting by Mannerist artist Spranger
The Art Newspaper 4 October 2017
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L’INHA va mettre en ligne la liste des acteurs du marché de l’art en France pendant l’Occupation allemande
Connaissance des arts 4 October 2017
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Bestand B 323 im Bundesarchiv Koblenz wird digitalisiert
Das Bundesarchiv Koblenz
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Websites and Resources

Looted Cultural Assets
Four German libraries - the Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Library, the Freie Universität Berlin University Library, the Potsdam University Library, and the Berlin Central and Regional Library - have created a joint website with the provenance details of over 12,000 books which may be looted. For more information click here.
click to visit
UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws
Provides access to national laws currently in force (with translations), import/export certificates, contact details for national authorities and addresses of official national websites dedicated to the protection of the cultural heritage.
click to visit
Dutch Museums Provenance Research
Results of 'Museum Acquisitions from 1933' project showing 41 Dutch museums are in possession of at least 139 items with 'problematic' origins.
click to visit
Swiss Looted Art Portal
Opened in June 2013, this government-run site provides details of museums' provenance research, advice on making enquiries, research and claims and links to relevant databases and archives in Switzerland and beyond.
click to visit
WGA-Files - Akten der Wieder- gutmachungsämter von Berlin - Case Records of the Berlin Restitution Offices
Digitised restitution case records of the Berlin Restitution Offices held in the Landesarchiv Berlin, consisting of the record group B Rep 025, Wiedergutmachungsämter von Berlin, containing more than 800,000 files.
click to visit
European Sales Catalogues 1930-1945 Heidelberg University
3,000 digitised auction catalogues including both German-speaking countries and the countries of occupied Europe - Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland - and including every genre of cultural object, from paintings to tapestries to silver and books. Provides the entire texts of auction catalogues. Searchable by auction house, artist, work of art, etc.
click to visit
German Sales Catalogs 1930–1945 at the Getty
More than 2,000 German language sales catalogues published between 1930 and 1945 including more than 230,000 individual auction sales records for paintings, sculptures, and drawings only. Searchable by artist name and nationality, lot title, buyer or seller’s name, city in which the sale occurred, type of subject matter and other fields. Provides only individual lot details, and links to Heidelberg for the full catalogue.  
click to visit
Hermann Goering Collection
Contains 4,263 paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries and other art objects, purchased or acquired from confiscated property, many available for restitution today.
click to visit
International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property
The Portal provides for the first time digital access to millions of cultural property records from the National Archives of the US, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Ukraine, France and other archival sources.  
click to visit
Polish Wartime Losses
Launched on 2 February 2011 by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and including missing paintings from public and private collections by Raphael, Van Dyck, Rubens and others, reflecting the 70% of Poland's art lost to the Nazis.
click to visit
ERR Database
The Nazi records and photographs of the looting of more than 20,000 objects from Jews in France and Belgium. Click here for background details.
click to visit
Galerie Heinemann
c 43,500 paintings and c 13,000 persons and institutions associated with their acquisition or sale by the Munich art dealer Galerie Heinemann from 1890 to 1939.  Click here for the full background.
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Hungary on Trial: Herzog Collection
The history of the family, a copy of the July 2010 lawsuit filed in New York and photos of the artworks.
click to visit
'Degenerate Art' / Aktion 'Entartete Kunst' website
The fate of more than 21,000 artworks condemned as “degenerate” by the Nazis and seized from German museums in 1937.  Click here for background details. 
click to visit
Central Collecting Point Munich Database
Index cards and photographs of the 170,000 works of art collected up by the Allies at the end of the war and inventoried from 1945 till 1951.
click to visit
Hitler's Linz Collection
A searchable, illustrated catalogue of the 4,731 works of art found by the Allies in the Linz Collection, with provenance details. Click here for detailed information.
click to visit
The Austrian National Fund
Hundreds of looted objects in Austrian public collections available for restitution.
click to visit

Conferences and Events

Replacing the Irreplaceable – Restitution of Jewish Cultural Property: Negotiations, Historical Dimensions, Documentation, Conference, Simon Dubnow Institute, Leipzig, 16-17 November 2017

The aims of the conference are to combine the concerns of finding and preserving assets and their documentation, with a historical perspective on the significance of related questions for Jewish memory, recognition and belonging in the twentieth century. For full details and the programme, click here.

Theft & Trade. The French Art Market Under German Occupation (1940-1944),Conference, Bonn, 30 November-1 December 2017

Hosted by the German Lost Art Foundation, with lectures by French and German experts. For full details, click here.

Home as a place for anti-Jewish persecution in European cities, 1933-1945. Crossing urban social history and history of the Holocaust, Conference, American University of Paris, 11-12 January 2018

On the links between persecution and housing policies, the beneficiaries of the spoliation of urban housing, the interactions between Jews and non-Jews re the seizure of housing, its re-allocation and restitution after liberation, and the place of homes in the experiences of individuals. For full details, click here.

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

For full details, click here.

Publications

A Tragic Fate—Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi Looted Art
June 2017
Nicholas O'Donnell. The first comprehensive overview of Nazi-looted art as it has played out in U.S. courtrooms.   
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Max J. Friedländer 1867-1958. Aphorismen aus Krieg- und Nachkriegszeit zum 150. Geburtstag
June 2017
A selection from Friedländer’s Aphorismen aus Krieg- und Nachkriegszeit, a collection of notes about topics such as art and connoisseurship, the nature of man and Friedländer’s own personality.
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Sprung in den Raum: Skulpturen bei Alfred Flechtheim
May 2017
Ottfried Dascher .
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Restitution of Cultural Property: A Hard Case – Theory of Argumentation – Philosophy of Law
April 2017
Kamil Zeidler.
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Unsere Werte? Provenienzforschung im Dialog: Leopold-Hoesch-Museum & Wallraf-Richartz-Museum
March 2017
Ed. Renate Goldmann.
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The Fortunate Ones
February 2017
Ellen Umansky. A novel about a Soutine painting linking parents who perished with their child who survived.
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Nazi-Looted Art and Its Legacies
February 2017
Andreas Huyssen, Anson Rabinbach, Avinoam Shalem (Eds). The contributors explore the continuities of art dealerships and auction houses from the Nazi period to the Federal Republic and take stock of the present political and cultural debate over the handling of the Gurlitt artwork.
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The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance
February 2017
Anders Rydell. Following the librarians seeking to restore the millions of plundered books to their rightful owners.
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Raub von Kulturgut: Der Zugriff des NS-Staats auf jüdischen Kunstbesitz in München und seine Nachgeschichte
November 2016
Jan Schleusener.
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Cross-border restitution claims of art looted in armed conflicts and wars and alternatives to court litigations
July 2016
Marc-André Renold. A study commissioned and supervised by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee.
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The Art of Suppression: Confronting the Nazi Past in Histories of the Visual and Performing Arts
June 2016
Pamela M. Potter.
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Proceedings of 'Plundered, But By Whom' Conference, Prague 21-2 October 2015
April 2016
Papers given at the conference organised by the Czech Documentation Centre for Property Transfers of Cultural Assets of WWII Victims.
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Who Owns Bruno Schulz? The Changing Postwar Fortunes of Works of Art by Jewish Artists Murdered in Nazi-Occupied Poland
March 2016
Nawojka Cieślińska-Lobkowicz . About the double standard in Poland which urges other countries to undertake research and restitution but avoids this within Poland, although after the war, national institutions and private individuals often became the new owners of objects that had once belonged to private people or organizations persecuted by the Nazis. In the majority of cases, this affected Jewish individuals, Jewish communities and Jewish institutions.
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Hitlers Kunsthändler Hildebrand Gurlitt 1895 - 1956. Die Biographie
March 2016
Meike Hofmann, Nicola Kuhn.
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Rebuilding a Destroyed World: Rudolf Beres – A Jewish Art Collector in Interwar Kraków
February 2016
Agnieszka Yass-Alston .
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Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books
February 2016
Mark Glickman.
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Restitution von NS-Raubkunst
January 2016
Barbara Vogel (Hrsg.). Essays on the difficulties and failings of restitution in Germany from historical, scientific, art historical, legal and political points of view, edited by Barbara Vogel.
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Der Kunstkenner. Max J. Friedländer. Biografische Skizzen.
December 2015
Simon Elson.
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Paul Graupe (1881-1953). Ein Berliner Kunsthändler zwischen Republik, Nationalsozialismus und Exil (A Berlin art dealer caught between the Republic, National Socialism and Exile)
December 2015
Patrick Golenia, Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier and Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont . Patrick Golenia, Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier and Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont write the biography of Paul Graupe, the Berlin auctioneer who lived between two extremes in Nazi Germany.
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The Indelible Presence of the Gurlitt Estate
November 2015
Adam Szymczyk in conversation with Alexander Alberro, Maria Eichhorn, and Hans Haacke. A conversation between artists and art historians on the indelible presence of the Gurlitt estate in the history of Germany in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as an allegory that awaits conclusio and as a changing picture of the processes of revealing and concealing truth as they become visible and comprehensible in the history of art.
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M.N.R. (Musées Nationaux récupération): Les tableaux de la guerre : oeuvres récuperées en Allemagne après la Second Guerre mondiale
October 2015
Guillaume Kazerouni assisté de Régis Couillard et Gwenaël Prost. A catalogue of the twelve MNR works of art held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes in France.
read more

Welcome to lootedart.com

This site contains two fully searchable databases.

The Information Database contains information and documentation from forty nine countries, including laws and policies, reports and publications, archival records and resources, current cases and relevant websites.

The Object Database contains details of over 25,000 objects of all kinds – paintings, drawings, antiquities, Judaica, etc – looted, missing and/or identified from over fifteen countries.

All images on the site are published under fair use conditions for the purpose of criticism and research.

For a list of Essential Website Links, showing all key research sites and resources,click here.

For details of the most recent international resources, click here and also see below, Online Resources and Case News.

To subscribe to our looted art newsletter, click here.

NEW

Provenance Research by the National Gallery of Ireland following restitution claims for three paintings made in 2012 and 2013


The claims for two of the paintings, a St Christopher attributed to Cranach the Elder and Portrait of a Woman by a 16th century German artist, were made by the heirs of Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer (owners of the Margraf group of companies including the Van Diemen gallery of Berlin). The claim for the third painting, Descent into Limbo by a follower of Bosch, was made by the heirs of Alfred Weinberger of Paris.

Following receipt of the claims, the National Gallery commissioned Laurie Stein, a private provenance researcher, to conduct further investigations. She concluded that the sale of the two Oppenheimer paintings in 1934, when they were acquired by the National Gallery, was not under duress and that the sale proceeds were not confiscated. She found that the Weinberger painting was confiscated by the ERR in 1941, that the painting was retrieved by a German art dealer in 1941/2, that the owner did not pursue a claim for it after the war although he did for other works taken from him, suggesting 'the possibility of a private resolution having been reached between him and either the German art dealer' or when it was sold at auction in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1950. 

For further background and the full text of the National Gallery of Ireland's report, please click here.

 

3 October 2017: Report of the Documenta 14 workshop 'Orphaned property' held in Kassel on September 12th 2017

Małgorzata A. Quinkenstein and Nathalie Neumann, the organisers of the conference, have compiled a report on the conference which focused on three topics: Through which processes was the category of “private property” dissolved during the Nazi regime? What forms of discourse accompanied the appropriation of orphaned property in the paradigm between need and greed? How do the ties of the new property holders to the orphaned properties affect their social networks in time and space? To read the report, click here.

21 September 2017: Ruling of US District Court Southern District of New York in suit of heirs of Margarete Moll v National Gallery of Art London

Margarete Moll’s relatives sued the National Gallery of Art in September 2016, claiming they lost Henri Matisse’s 1908 oil painting 'Portrait of Greta Moll' during the Allied occupation of Germany in World War II. But U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni ruled that plaintiffs Oliver Williams et al. failed to establish jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, failed to establish that there had been an illegal taking, and that “even if plaintiffs could allege such facts, their claims are time-barred.” The case was dismissed with prejudice. To read the ruling, click here.

Enhanced International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property now hosted by EHRI

The International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-era Cultural Property, till now hosted by the US National Archives (NARA), is now hosted by the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) as part of the suite of Holocaust-related research resources available through the EHRI website.

The Portal links researchers to archival materials at 22 participating institutions, consisting of descriptions of records and, in many cases, digital images of the records that relate to cultural property that was stolen, looted, seized, forcibly sold, or otherwise lost during the Nazi era.   The International Research Portal is an important resource for provenance, claims, and academic researchers to locate relevant archival materials across institutions.

The Portal was enhanced prior to the move to enable searching simultaneously across many of the resources available through the Portal that previously had to be accessed individually.  This additional capability greatly improves the ability of researchers to access archival materials across multiple institutions while conducting cross-institutional research. A short article outlining the new search features can be found here. For further information about the Portal and the records available, click here.

 

Museums Online in July 2017

Museums are increasingly putting their collections online, most with images. The Metropolitan Museum in New York has 1.5 million objects of which 447,000 are currently online, 307,000 with images. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC which encompasses 19 museums has 154 million objects, 10 million of which are available online, 2.2 million of them with images. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has 1 million objects of which 602,000 are online, all of them with images. The UK has put online the country's 200,000 oil paintings in 3,250 public venues from museums to hospitals and even a lighthouse, all with images, some which had never been photographed before. There are also watercolours and works on paper.  Among the online collections are the following:

 

ArtUK: 200,000 oil paintings, watercolours and works on paper, all with images https://artuk.org/
Bavarian State Paintings Collections, Munich (
18 museums): 25,000 works online https://www.pinakothek.de/sammlung
Berlin State Museums
(17 collections): 180,000 works online, all with images http://www.smb-digital.de/eMuseumPlus
- also Ancient Bronzes in Berlin: 8,200 objects online acquired by 1945 http://ww2.smb.museum/antikebronzenberlin/index.htm
British Museum, London
: 4 million works online, 1 million with one or more images https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx
Dresden State Collections:
No information about the number of works online; only published are those with 'cleared' provenances  http://skd-online-collection.skd.museum/
Louvre, Paris
: 30,000 objects online with images, all are works on display http://cartelen.louvre.fr/cartelen/visite?srv=crt_frm_rs&langue=en&initCritere=true
Metropolitan Museum, New York: 447,000 works online 307,000 with images http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York: 75,000 works online (of 200,000 in total in the collection), 63,000 with images
Prado Museum, Madrid: 3,500 works online with images https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-works
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: 604,000 works online, all with images https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/search?ii=0&p=1
Smithsonian, Washington: 10 million works online, 1.6 million with images http://collections.si.edu/search/about.htm
V&A, London: 1.2 million works online, 675,000 with images https://collections.vam.ac.uk/

Recent Lawsuits

Copies of lawsuits filed in various cases, stages and jurisdictions are provided on this site. Cases with recent filings include the claim on 3 March 2017 by the Lewenstein heirs for the Kandinsky painting owned by Munich's Bavarian Landesbank, the claim by the heirs of Alice Leffmann for the Picasso painting 'The Actor' in the Metropolitan Museum NY, the claim for the Guelph Treasure against the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Federal Republic of Germany, and the claim by the heirs of Fritz Grunbaum for a Schiele drawing owned by Richard Nagy. To view the filings, click here.

28 June 2016: Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE) calls for three fundamental changes in the way Germany handles research and restitution

On 25 June CLAE published its groundbreaking original research showing that Germany returned Nazi looted artworks to the high-ranking Nazi families who stole it rather than to the families from whom this was taken, and that this remarkable scandal has been covered up by Germany for decades. At the same time, the looted families had their claims thrown out or impossible hurdles created to prevent them recovering their artworks - and this continues today. CLAE is now calling for a full accounting of these shameful transactions with the high-ranking Nazis and the way they have been hidden, as well as for three essential changes in the way Germany handles research and restitution:

1. Lists of all artworks in German collections whose provenance is unclear or problematic must be published so families have a chance of finding their missing paintings; there can be no more waiting for individual item provenance research to be done first;

2. All relevant records must be open and accessible. In particular, the records of the Bavarian Museums must be handed over to the State Archives in accordance with German law;

3. Germany must create a single, fair, transparent and accountable claims process that applies to all collections throughout Germany, at both federal and state level, so that all families can be confident their claims will be dealt with justly.

Germany already made these commitments 18 years ago at the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, but has not implemented them. CLAE says that without total transparency and accountability, the victims of the Nazi looting will continue to be denied the justice that is so long overdue.


To read CLAE's press release about its research, click here. To read the full story published over three pages in Sueddeutsche Zeitung in English or German, click here.

Online Resources and Case News

Country-specific information is available on this site for 48 countries, from Albania to Yugoslavia, in the Information by Country section. Details of important, non country-specific, online resources are available in the International section of the site which contains several categories of information.  For example: 

Restitutions and Case News: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or settled outside the courts with copies of reports and rulings. Full details of a comprehensive range of cases can be found in the News Archive, which is fully searchable by name of family, artwork, museum, city, etc.


Lawsuits
: provides details of claims and cases ruled on or being settled in court with copies of court filings and judgements.

Research Resources: provides details of family records, tracing services, art historical resources, texts of post-war reports, and books and publications.

Web Resources: provides details of various online databases of looted paintings, results of provenance research in countries around the world, archival records available online and other research materials.

Seeking Owners of Identified Looted Property: provides lists of names of individuals whose looted property has been identified in institutions in Germany and whose heirs are being sought. 

Other categories of information include Governmental Conferences and Hearings, Laws, Policies and Guidelines, Art Trade, and Press, Television, Radio and Film.  To explore all these sections, click here.

The site is regularly updated with new resources and developments.  To provide details of resources or cases to add to the site, please email info@lootedart.com.

© website copyright Central Registry 2017