Restitution Reports:

Restitution Report 1998/1999: Report from the Federal Minister for Instruction and Cultural Affairs to the National Council regarding the Restitution of Works of Art from Austrian Federal Museums and Collections (Restitutionsbericht 1998/1999: Bericht der Bundesministerin für Unterricht und kulturelle Angelegenheiten an den Nationalrat über die Rückgabe von Kunstgegenständen aus den Österreichischen Bundesmuseen und Sammlungen)

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Title
Restitution Report 1998/1999: Report from the Federal Minister for Instruction and Cultural Affairs to the National Council regarding the Restitution of Works of Art from Austrian Federal Museums and Collections (Restitutionsbericht 1998/1999: Bericht der Bundesministerin für Unterricht und kulturelle Angelegenheiten an den Nationalrat über die Rückgabe von Kunstgegenständen aus den Österreichischen Bundesmuseen und Sammlungen)

Description
The First Restitution Report is available here and from the website of the Commission for Provenance Research.

According to the 1998 Federal State Act on the Return of Cultural Objects from Austrian Federal Museums and Collections, the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Culture is required to issue a yearly report to inform the National Council (i.e. Lower Chamber of the Austrian Parliament) on the restitution of works of art. The First Restitution Report was published on 27 October 1999 and covers restitutions made between 9 December 1998 and 18 August 1999. The second Report covers restitutions between 27 October 1999 and 28 November 2000, and the third one covers restitutions made between 29 November 2000 and 1 October 2001.

The reports are effectively an annual review of the activities of the Commission for Provenance Research . The Commission was created in March 1998 by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (formerly the Federal Ministry for Instruction and Cultural Affairs) The draft for the 1998 Federal State Act was prepared during the first months of the Commission and drew on this initial research. The Commission for Provenance Research is under the direction of Professor Dr. Ernst Bacher and its central office is located at the Federal Office of Historical Monuments (Bundesdenkmalamt), where the greatest number of archival materials on art looting and restitution in Austria are located. Members of the Commission's staff work in the Federal Museums and Collections and in the National Library of Austria. If restitution cases arise from their research, dossiers are submitted to an Advisory Council created by the 1998 Federal State Act on the Return of Cultural Objects. The Advisory Council was constituted on 9 December 1998 and is based at the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture. It examines the research dossiers and forwards recommendations on restitutions to the Federal Ministers for Defence; Economy and Labour, and Education, Science and Culture, who act on them.

Because the 1998 Federal State Act is restricted to Federal Museums and Collections, the Reports only cover restitutions from the following institutions: the Albertina (Graphic Arts); the Museum of Military History (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum); the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art Historical Museum, which also includes the Museum of Anthropology (Museum für Völkerkunde) and the Theatre Museum); the Museum of Applied Arts (Museum für Angewandte Kunst or MAK), the Museum of Modern Art-Ludwig Foundation Vienna (Museum Moderner Kunst-Stiftung Ludwig Wien); the Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum); the Belvedere (Österreichische Galerie Belvedere), the Austrian Museum of Folk Art and Folk Life (Österreichisches Museum für Volkskunde), the Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek), the Federal Museum of Pathology and Anatomy (Pathologisch-anatomisches Museum) and the Technical Museum (Technisches Museum) and the Federal Furniture Collection. So far, several Austrian regions (Bundesländer) have followed suit and have established Restitution Commissions which issue their own restitution reports. The municipality of Vienna is a good example.

The Federal Restitution Reports can be downloaded from the website of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture (Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur).  The reports up to 2000/2001 are only available in German.  Subsequent reports are available in German and English.

Report Summary
The first Report in the series starts with statistical information from the Bundesdenkmalamt (Federal Office of Historical Monuments) indicating that in Austria, 13,500 objects, confiscated or voluntarily placed into wartime storage, were returned to their owners between 1945 and 1948. The Report provides basic information on the creation of the Commission for Provenance Research, the drafting of the 1998 Federal State Act on the Return of Cultural Objects and the creation of the Advisory Council on restitution.

The Report describes the Commission's mandate to be the systematic cataloguing of art and cultural objects acquired by Federal Museums and Collections between 1938 and 1945 as well as information on postwar restitutions, in order to clear up all questions of ownership during the Nazi regime and the immediate postwar period. The Commission uses archival materials in public collections and at the Bundesdenkmalamt to check the Republic of Austria’s legal title to these objects.

According to the Report, the Commission's early research already highlighted three main categories of return scenarios which were later written into the text of the 1998 Federal State Act on the Return of Cultural Objects:

Advisory Council:
For the period covered by the First Report, the chairperson was Dr. Rudolf Wran (Federal Ministry of Instruction and Cultural Affairs). The members were Oberrätin Dr. Ilsebill Barta-Fliedl (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs), Dr. Peter Zetter (Advocate General, Federal Ministry of Justice), Dr. Manfred Kremser (Vice President, Procurator Fiscal), Prof. Dr. Helmut Konrad (Karl-Franzens-University, Graz), Prof. Dr. Artur Rosenauer (University of Vienna), Prof. Dr. Manfried Rauchensteiner (Director, Museum of Military History).

During the period covered by the first report, the Advisory Council met on seven occasions and examined the documentation submitted by the Commission for Provenance Research. It then provided the Federal Minister of Instruction and Cultural Affairs with expert opinion on the restitution cases listed below. On the basis of this, the Federal Minister made use of his authorisation to transfer ownership in the cases listed below according to § 2 (1) of the 1998 Federal State Act on the Return of Cultural Objects by the cut-off date of 18 August 1999. The list shows the objects restituted in the period covered by the first Restitution Report and on occasion also names the Federal Collections which returned them. Full details of the restituted objects (artist/title or brief description(decorative arts/furniture), Federal Museum/ Collection restituted from, inventory numbers) are provided in the German original of the Report.

Restitution Decisions (listed in the order given by the Report):

I. To the heirs of Clarisse Adelaide Rothschild and Louis Nathaniel Rothschild:

A) Clarice (Alphonse) Rothschild Collection

The Belvedere Gallery:
7 works in total, including 2 works by Johann Gottried Auerbach, 2 reliefs by Jacob Gabriel Mollinarolo and 1 work each by Matthäus Donner and August von Pettenkofen

The Kunsthistorisches Museum:
7 works from the Painting Gallery, including 1 work each by Hans de Jode, Isack van Ostade, Gabriel Metsu, Hyacinthe de Rigaud, Frans Hals, Jan Wynants and David Teniers
4 objects from the Collection of Historical Musical Instruments
26 objects and object groups from the Weapons Collection
42 objects and object groups from the Art and Curio Cabinet
3 medals from the Coin Collection

The Museum of Military History:
6 objects

The National Library of Austria:
A 16th century Rothschild Book of Hours

The Albertina Collection of Graphic Arts:
28 works in total, including 14 works by Johann Elias Ridinger, 4 works by Johann Nepomuk,  3 works by August Pettenkofen, 2 works by Anton Strassgschwandter and 1 work each by Rudolf von Alt, Jakob Blechinger (not yet located), Joseph Kriehuber

The Museum of Applied Arts:
72 objects and object groups (decorative arts, household furnishings)

B) Louis N. Rothschild Collection

The Belvedere Gallery:
4 works in total, including 2 works by Friedrich von Amerling and 1 work each by Emil Jakob Schindler and Michelangelo Unterberger

The Kunsthistorisches Museum:
4 works from the Painting Gallery, including 2 works by Frans Hals and 1 work by Aelbert Cuyp
10 objects and object groups from the Weapons Collection:
15 objects and object groups from the Coin Collection

The Albertina Collection of Graphic Arts:
11 works in total, including 2 works by T.M. Delatre, 2 works by Josef Kreutzinger, and 1 work each by Franz Alt, Heinrich Friedrich Füger, Heinrich Joseph Füger, Friedrich Gauermann, August von Pettenkofen and P.W. Tomkins

The Museum of Applied Arts: 1 object

II. To the heirs of Erich Lederer
Kunsthistorisches Museum: 1 work by Gentile Bellini

The Albertina Collection of Graphic Arts:
9 objects in total, including 6 works by Egon Schiele and 3 works by Moritz von Schwind

III. To the heirs of Ferdinand Bloch Bauer
The Albertina Collection of Graphic Arts:
16 works by Gustav Klimt

Museum of Applied Arts:
20 objects and object groups (decorative arts, fine crockery)

IV. To the heirs of Edwin and Karoline Czeczowiczka
The Albertina Collection of Graphic Arts:
3 objects in total, including a painting by Jean-François Millet and two miniatures

Source
Restitution Report 1998/1999: Report from the Federal Minister for Instruction and Cultural Affairs to the National Council regarding the Restitution of Works of Art from Austrian Federal Museums and Collections (Restitutionsbericht 1998/1999: Bericht der Bundesministerin für Unterricht und kulturelle Angelegenheiten an den Nationalrat über die Rückgabe von Kunstgegenständen aus den Österreichischen Bundesmuseen und Sammlungen)<http://www.bmukk.gv.at/medienpool/1001/restitut.pdf >, accessed 6 July 2007.

Restitution Report 2000/2001: Third Report from the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Culture to the National Council regarding the Restitution of Works of Art from Austrian Federal Museums and Collections (Restitutionsbericht 2000/2001: Bericht der Bundesministerin für Unterricht und kulturelle Angelegenheiten an den Nationalrat über die Rückgabe von Kunstgegenständen aus den Österreichischen Bundesmuseen und Sammlungen) <http://www.bmukk.gv.at/medienpool/8284/Restitutionsbericht_00_01.pdf>, accessed 6 July 2007.

Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture (Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur)<http://www.bmukk.gv.at/kultur/bm/restber.xml>, accessed 6 July 2007

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