Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Press release by the Press and Information Office of the German Federal Government

Bureau for Provenance Research winds up operations with a record

Date 2014.12.15

On 27 Novem­ber 2014 the ad­vi­so­ry board of the Bu­reau for Prove­nance Re­search (AfP) met for its fi­nal fund­ing ap­proval ses­sion. Start­ing in 2015 the AfP will be in­te­grat­ed in­to the new­ly found­ed Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion, es­tab­lished by the fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments and lead­ing mu­nic­i­pal as­so­ci­a­tions.

The ad­vi­so­ry board re­viewed 26 fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for long-term projects which will search for Nazi-loot­ed works in Ger­man mu­se­ums, li­braries and archives with a to­tal fund­ing re­quire­ment of around 2.5 mil­lion eu­ros. Ap­proval was grant­ed to 20 ap­pli­ca­tions. In light of the up­com­ing for­ma­tion of the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion, the ad­vi­so­ry board de­cid­ed to lim­it the fund­ing du­ra­tion for all ap­proved projects to twelve months for the time be­ing.

The Of­fice of Prove­nance Re­search con­cludes 2014 with a new record. Through­out the year it re­ceived 55 long-term and 19 short-term ap­pli­ca­tions with a to­tal fund­ing re­quire­ment of 5,867,704.98 eu­ros. Thanks to the de­ci­sion by the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion­er for Cul­ture and the Me­dia (BKM) to dou­ble the AfP fund­ing bud­get to four mil­lion eu­ros, the Of­fice of Prove­nance Re­search was able to grant fund­ing to a to­tal of 40 long-term and 18 short-term projects in 2014.

Since it was es­tab­lished in 2008, the AfP has pro­vid­ed ap­prox­i­mate­ly 12 mil­lion eu­ros in fi­nanc­ing to 109 long-term and 61 short-term projects. With an ad­di­tion­al 1.7 mil­lion eu­ros from the Cul­tur­al Foun­da­tion of Ger­man States (KSL) and con­tri­bu­tions pro­vid­ed by the project co­or­di­na­tors to­talling 7.7 mil­lion eu­ros, the AfP projects have in­vest­ed 21.4 mil­lion eu­ros in­to the de­cen­tralised search for Nazi-loot­ed art in 89 mu­se­ums, 27 li­braries, five aca­dem­ic in­sti­tutes and uni­ver­si­ty fa­cil­i­ties, and five archives since 2008.

Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion­er Moni­ka Grüt­ters ex­plained:
“Sup­port­ing the de­cen­tralised search for Nazi-loot­ed art has proven to be a suc­cess­ful con­cept. The sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in de­mand for fed­er­al fund­ing com­pared to last year con­firms we made the right de­ci­sion to dou­ble the fund­ing bud­get for prove­nance re­search to four mil­lion eu­ros this year. And for next year, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has al­ready set aside six mil­lion eu­ros to fi­nance prove­nance re­search and resti­tu­tion claims. The es­tab­lish­ment of the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion, which I helped ini­ti­ate, will serve as a cen­tral con­tact part­ner for ad­dress­ing is­sues of loot­ed art in Ger­many in con­sen­sus with fed­er­al, state and mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties. The AfP and its small, very ded­i­cat­ed team has ac­com­plished out­stand­ing work, and I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing good, cre­ative and com­mit­ted col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion.”

Is­abel Pfeif­fer-Poens­gen, the sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the Cul­tur­al Foun­da­tion of Ger­man States and mem­ber of the AfP ad­vi­so­ry com­mit­tee, stat­ed in Berlin:
“For­tu­nate­ly in many places, prove­nance re­search is no longer the ne­glect­ed stepchild of Ger­man mu­se­ums, li­braries and archives. As I see it, the widespread dis­cus­sion this year on deal­ing with Nazi-loot­ed art and the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for the works in one’s col­lec­tion, which al­so en­tails in­ves­ti­gat­ing their his­to­ry, has brought about a fun­da­men­tal change with­in the in­sti­tu­tions and their fi­nan­cial back­ers, the state and mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties. We see ev­i­dence of this new aware­ness on the part of cul­tur­al in­sti­tu­tions by the nu­mer­ous and am­bi­tious re­search pro­pos­als which have been sub­mit­ted for re­view.”

BKM fund­ing to strength­en prove­nance re­search was grant­ed to the fol­low­ing in­sti­tu­tions for the first time:

• Saar­land­mu­se­um, Saar­brück­en
• Übersee-Mu­se­um Bre­men
• Mu­se­um Berggru­en (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
• Leopold-Hoesch-Mu­se­um, Düren
• Kun­sthalle zu Kiel
• Lan­desarchiv Baden-Würt­tem­berg, Karl­sruhe
• Stadt­mu­se­um Tübin­gen
• Buch­heim Mu­se­um der Phan­tasie, Bern­ried
• Mu­se­ums­dorf Clop­pen­burg
• Liebieghaus Skulp­turen­samm­lung, Frank­furt a. M.
• Mu­se­um für Kun­st und Kul­turgeschichte Dort­mund

Fund­ing ap­proval was grant­ed to the fol­low­ing in­sti­tu­tions to fi­nance ex­ist­ing or ex­tend­ed re­search projects:

• Kun­sthalle Bre­men
• Kun­st­samm­lung Je­na
• Völk­erkun­de­mu­se­um Hei­del­berg
• Stadt­bib­lio­thek Bautzen
• Bay­erische Staats­bib­lio­thek, München
• Cen­trum Ju­daicum, Berlin
• Domäne Dahlem, Berlin

The fol­low­ing in­sti­tu­tions, which had car­ried out prove­nance re­search projects in search of Nazi-loot­ed art in their col­lec­tions in the past, re­ceived fund­ing ap­proval for new projects of the same kind:

• Stiftung Schleswig-Hol­steinis­che Lan­desmuseen Schloss Got­torf, Schleswig
• Mu­se­um der bilden­den Kün­ste Leipzig

For brief de­scrip­tions of se­lect­ed projects, click here (in Ger­man on­ly).

The Of­fice of Prove­nance Re­search still op­er­ates un­der the aus­pices of the Stiftung Preußis­ch­er Kul­turbe­sitz. The BKM has al­lo­cat­ed four mil­lion eu­ros to the AfP for the cur­rent year to pro­vide project-re­lat­ed, de­cen­tralised prove­nance re­search fund­ing. The Cul­tur­al Foun­da­tion of Ger­man States pro­vid­ed 358,000 eu­ros to off­set the AfP’s ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­pens­es. It al­so pro­vid­ed fi­nanc­ing to pro­mote state-lev­el prove­nance re­search net­work­ing projects.

The Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion is cur­rent­ly in the pro­cess of for­ma­tion. It plans to is­sue its fund­ing guide­lines and ap­pli­ca­tion dead­lines at the be­gin­ning of 2015.