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Research on Museum Collection Provenance, 1933-45
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Introduction

These pages present the J. Paul Getty Museum's continuing research on the provenance (history of ownership) of works in its collection during the period 1933 to 1945, that is, from the rise to power of the Nazi party to its defeat. We publish this information in accordance with the Guidelines Concerning the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During the Nazi Era adopted by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) in June, 1998.

Provenance research has always been and continues to be a central and often laborious activity of the staff, as it is at most art museums. It serves many purposes, sometimes helping to substantiate an attribution and at all times aiding curators, educators, and scholars to understand the history of collecting and taste. We have published this research in collection catalogues and other publications for many years; the Internet provides another powerful method of distribution.

Reconstruction of a complete history of ownership for a given work can be difficult and sometimes impossible. Many records of ownership have been destroyed as a result of natural disasters, man-made disasters such as war, and neglect. Information is sometimes withheld by dealers and auction houses at the request of previous owners who wish to maintain their anonymity. Much archival information remains undiscovered or difficult to access. Provenance information we receive or find needs to be treated cautiously, since owners, dealers, curators, and scholars have been known to associate documentary evidence with the wrong object.

The works published in this section of our Web site have gaps in, or no provenance for, the period 1933 to 1945 and updated regularly as new information comes to light and as objects are added to the collection. Such gaps in provenance, in and of themselves, are by no means proof that these works were looted during the Holocaust or World War II. We publish this list to open our inquiry further and we welcome any information on the provenance of works in our collection that users of this site can provide. This Web site will be augmented in the future. We have begun with our paintings and will be adding works from other departments over time.

Additional Information

The Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal

 

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