Collections | Provenance Research Project
During the Nazi Era in Europe (1933-1945), the Nazi regime systematically stole vast amounts of fine and decorative arts from Jews and other “non-Aryans” throughout Europe. Some of these works of art were intended for planned Nazi state museums; other works were sold on the black market in Europe to fund the Nazi effort. In the aftermath of World War II, some of these items were repatriated to their original owners, but many reached the art market, landing in private and public collections across the globe. In recent years many documents and resources have become more widely available which allow researchers to more thoroughly research the provenance of works of art that were at risk. It is incumbent upon museums, as holders of the public trust, to ensure that we are not in possession of stolen goods.

 

To that end the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art has, like many other museums, begun the long process of clarifying provenances for works of art in our collection that may have been on the European continent (and thus under Nazi control) during those years. The LRMA has five distinct collections, but only one, European Painting, is in any danger of containing misappropriated objects.
The “provenance” of an artwork is its ownership history – the wheres, whos, and whens of its past. A full and clear provenance will include the name, location, and dates of ownership from the creation of the object up to the present, with no gaps. Unfortunately museums and dealers have not always been as aware of the Nazi-Era misappropriations as we are now, and so some paintings have been acquired without full provenance information. We have identified eleven works of art in our European Painting collection for which we do not have complete provenances. Each of these paintings was acquired after 1933 and created before 1945.

 

We have no reason to believe that any of our eleven paintings were stolen by Nazis before coming to us. Rather, we hope by publishing this information to further our research and fill in those provenance gaps. We expect to eliminate these paintings from this listing as we make progress in our research. The following database includes as much information as we can provide for each painting: artist (with dates and nationality), title (or titles), date (if known), size, medium, and known provenance. Color photographs will be added as they become available.
This web page is only one aspect of an ongoing research project. We have instituted a policy of active participation in any clearinghouse, database, or registry which aids in restitution of stolen objects. Please contact Tommie Rodgers, Registrar, at trodgers@lrma.org if you are a researcher who requires further information on these works.

 

List of eleven European paintings with incomplete provenance for the Nazi Era
For further research, the Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal provides a searchable registry of objects in U.S. museum collections that changed hands in Continental Europe during the Nazi era (1933-1945). This site can be accessed at  www.nepip.org.

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