Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Paris 1940–1944: Theft and trade of cultural assets under German occupation – transnational review opens up new perspectives for provenance research

Date 2017.11.30

From Novem­ber 30 to De­cem­ber 1, 2017, the con­fer­ence “Theft & Trade. The French Art Mar­ket Un­der Ger­man Oc­cu­pa­tion (1940–1944)”, host­ed by the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion, will bring to­geth­er no­table in­ter­na­tion­al ex­perts who will present the find­ings of their re­spec­tive re­search. The 300 par­tic­i­pants of the spe­cial­ist con­fer­ence will al­so en­gage in stim­u­lat­ing dis­cus­sion with the speak­ers on the fol­low­ing ques­tions: Who were the stake­hold­ers and who the de­spoiled? How did Nazi poli­cies, art his­to­ry ex­per­tise and mar­ket in­ter­ests mesh? How did the col­lab­o­ra­tion work?

“This con­fer­ence brings to­geth­er re­searchers from France, Ger­many and oth­er coun­tries for the first time, al­low­ing a transna­tion­al view to be gained of the art mar­ket and its stake­hold­ers in oc­cu­pied Paris,” said Prof. Gilbert Lupfer, aca­dem­ic di­rec­tor of the Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion. “The shar­ing of ex­per­tise by the re­searchers will drive for­ward in­ter­na­tion­al prove­nance re­search in­to this com­plex top­ic area in both France and Ger­many, and open up new view­points.”

Hilde­brand Gurlitt was one of the deal­ers who bought works of art in Paris be­tween 1941 and 1944 dur­ing the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion, of­ten on be­half of Hitler for his planned mu­se­um in Linz. A flour­ish­ing and dy­nam­ic trade sprang up in Paris. The con­fer­ence will cre­ate a the­mat­ic fo­cus with the pre­sen­ta­tion of new re­search find­ings on Gurlitt’s ac­qui­si­tions in France. Clear con­nec­tions will be­come ap­par­ent to the works from the Gurlitt art trove on dis­play in the ex­hi­bi­tion “Gurlitt: Sta­tus Re­port – Nazi Art Theft and its Con­se­quences”, which runs at the same time. “The ex­ten­sive re­search car­ried out as part of the Gurlitt Prove­nance Re­search project con­tributes sig­nif­i­cant­ly to­wards new find­ings on the Paris art trade and will bring about ma­jor ad­vances in knowl­edge with­in the prove­nance re­search field,” said Dr. An­drea Bare­sel-Brand, the project di­rec­tor.

The con­fer­ence was de­signed, and will be held, in close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Deutsches Fo­rum für Kun­st­geschichte Paris (Ger­man Art His­to­ry Fo­rum Paris) and the Fo­rum Kun­st und Markt (Cen­tre for Art Mar­ket Stud­ies) at the Tech­nis­che Uni­ver­sität Berlin.

Paris 1940–1944: Theft and trade of cul­tur­al as­sets un­der Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion – transna­tion­al re­view opens up new per­spec­tives for prove­nance re­search