First junior professorship for provenance research at the University of Hamburg—Grütters: Further strengthening of provenance research in Germany
Today, Monday, Dr. Gesa Jeuthe officially took up her post of Junior Professor for Historical and Contemporary Provenance Research at the University of Hamburg. She is the first junior professor in this field in Germany.At the inauguration, Monika Grütters, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, said: “We need an unobstructed view of the truth in order to fulfill our ongoing responsibility to remember the victims of National Socialism, a responsibility placed upon us due to the untold suffering and injustice for which Germans are to blame. It is beyond our ability to undo the terrible wrongs of the Nazi regime, and so we will make every possible effort to investigate Nazi art theft. We wanted to do justice to the fates of human beings not only legally, but also morally. Working through the history of an artwork is not an end in itself. Rather, it is about acknowledging the life histories of the victims, about recognizing the suffering and injustice to which victims of the Nazi regime, particularly people of Jewish faith, were subjected under the National Socialist reign of terror. That is why the German government is funding extensive provenance research on a long-term basis. The financial resources for local searches for Nazi-looted art in museums have trebled since I took office.”
Monika Grütters continued: “The establishment of professorships in this field is a very pleasing development, especially because the need for qualified researchers is growing and will remain high for a long time to come. Needless to say, provenance research should not be restricted to the period of 1933 to 1945—the colonial era also needs to be further researched. We are only just starting to have scientific and political discussions regarding claims from indigenous peoples. The same is also true for cultural property lost in the former Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR. It is therefore important that the newly established junior professorship in Hamburg serves the explicit aim of embedding provenance research for all eras into the canon of art history research and teaching. With the appointment of Gesa Jeuthe, I am delighted that this challenging task at the University of Hamburg is now in the hands of a dedicated and renowned academic who has experience in both the theory and the practice of provenance research in equal measure. I should like to extend my thanks in particular to the Liebelt-Stiftung, without whose civic involvement this professorship could not have been established.”
Dr. Gesa Jeuthe took up the Liebelt-Stiftung Professorship for Historical and Contemporary Provenance Research at the University of Hamburg on August 1, 2017. It has been established for a period of six years within the Art History department. The junior professorship is being financed through a donation from the Liebelt-Stiftung. The German Lost Art Foundation, whose Foundation Board is chaired by the Minister of State for Culture and Media, acted as a mediator prior to the establishment of the professorship. Cooperation with the university research landscape is one of the Foundation’s statutory tasks.