Investigation into the provenance of museum collections in connection with the theft, confiscation and sale of objects under duress between 1933 and 1945.

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Museum Provenance Investigation

In 2009, the Museums Association asked museums in the Netherlands to investigate the provenance of their collections. The aim was to compile an inventory of objects of which the provenance suggests possible theft, confiscation, sale under duress or other suspicious circumstances between 1933 and the end of the Second World War. This investigation into Museum Acquisitions from 1933 onwards focuses exclusively on art and Jewish ritual objects in Dutch museums.

This investigation follows on from the investigation into Museum Acquisitions in 1940-1948 that the Museums Association asked its members to conduct in 1998-1999.

Watch the video on provenance investigation.



Looted Art before, during and after WW II


Bergkerk, Deventer
Until August 27, 2017

This summer until August 27 a major exhibition on looted art can be seen in Deventer, The Netherlands. It tells the story of Jewish art dealers and private individuals whose artworks fell into German hands during the Second World War. This was often a matter of forced sales, and sometimes of organized looting. The work on display, some of it recovered from Hitler and Goering’s collections, is on loan from the Dutch state collection and Dutch museums. In addition, there are some families that have loaned their successfully reclaimed artworks for this remarkable occasion.

Curator of the exhibit is prof. dr. Rudi Ekkart, chair of the Committee for Museum Acquisitions from 1933 onwards. Since 1997, he has led the Commissie Herkomst Gezocht. This commission has been entrusted with the task of linking artworks in the Dutch Art Collection to their rightful owners, or their heirs. The commission Ekkart was instrumental to the birth of a new more generous restitution policy in accordance with the Washington Principles.

The exhibition Looted Art is organized by the Terborch Foundation, with the kind cooperation of the Dutch Ministry of Culture.The Terborch Foundation is a new private initiative set up by Daaf Ledeboer and Eva Kleeman, art historians with a museum background. Six years ago they decided they would like the general public to see hidden treasures from the state vaults.

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