Archives de la Récupération Artistique
The Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres contains the most important records of art looting and restitution in France. Prior to 1991, these documents were stored by the Archives des Musées de France.
Most of the materials are subject to French privacy laws, which prohibit access to documents concerning private individuals by anyone but their families, for 60 years from the date of creation. However, in some cases, information from the documents can be conveyed to researchers via archivists.
There are over 900 boxes of records, which are officially known as the Archives de la Récupération Artistique.
The documents come from four main sources:
Most of the record of looted and restituted objects at the archives of the Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres include personal family information, and are therefore subject to French privacy laws and not readily available to researchers. However, if sufficiently detailed information of specific objects is provided (such as artist, title, dimensions, available provenance, name of looted collections), archives staff will review the requested documents and supply any pertinent information, but not the actual papers. Requests on information of art works from a particular French collection can be forwarded to the archives as to whether the records list the object as looted and/or restituted.
The records at the Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres also include some ERR materials and other captured German documents. Since the ERR materials include family names, the materials are subject to French privacy laws. (The same information is accessible elsewhere - such as the National Archives in Washington, DC and the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz, Germany.) The records also include inventories of the Göring and Linz collections. These files are generally available to researchers. Additional records regarding the purchases by German and Austrian museums as documented by the Schenker papers (available at NARA) are also held at the Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres.
Direction des Archives du Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres
37, quai d'Orsay
75007 Paris, France
Tel.: +33 1 43 17 42 42
N. H. Yeide, K. Akinsha, A. L. Walsh (eds), AAM Guide to Provenance Research, Washington 2001, pp. 117-118.