Press release by the Press and Information Office of the German Federal Government
Bureau for Provenance Research winds up operations with a record
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.