German Lost Art Foundation approves approximately 2.8 million Euros for 31 provenance research projects in the area of "Nazi-looted art" in the first round of funding in 2021
He was considered a close friend of Hitler, was very well connected in the Nazi state – and founder of today's German Hunting and Fishing Museum in Munich. Christian Weber, known as the "Tyrant of Munich," had initiated the founding of the "German Hunting Museum" in 1938 and ensured that the collection grew conspicuously, especially during the war years: through business trips to occupied France, through contacts with art dealers, but above all through his connections to high-ranking Nazi officials or the Gestapo. A provenance research project funded by the German Lost Art Foundation aims to clarify whether and which works of art and objects from the museum collection were looted or extorted, and how Weber personally enriched himself in the process. Some objects have already been identified as looted property from the possession of Jewish collectors, and 156 are currently considered to be possibly contaminated.
The project in Munich is one of 31 research projects in the field of Nazi-looted art that will be financially supported by the German Lost Art Foundation in Magdeburg in the first round of funding in 2021. On the recommendation of its advisory board, the board of the German Lost Art Foundation has approved around 2.8 million Euros for provenance research at museums, libraries, academic institutions and for six private applicants in this first round of applications in 2021.
Not only works of art will be investigated, but also books, for example: The Foundation Moses Mendelssohn Akademie Halberstadt, for example, is researching the provenance of an extensive bundle of thousands of books and loose sheets that was handed over to the foundation in 2018 in 20 Wehrmacht ammunition boxes and several moving boxes. Initial research suggests that the books were mostly owned by deported or emigrated Jews.
Museums and libraries are not the only ones investigating the origins of their holdings. Descendants of those persecuted are researching the history of their ancestors' scattered collections: Hagar Lev, great-granddaughter of the Jewish Munich bed feather manufacturer Karl Adler and his wife Emilie, is dedicated to reconstructing her great-grandfather's extensive art collection. Karl Adler was murdered in the Dachau concentration camp in 1938, and his collection of classical modernist works was confiscated and is now lost. The project aims to clarify the whereabouts of at least 130 works of art, but it is also intended to raise awareness of the services rendered to cultural life in Germany by persecuted, forgotten collectors like Karl Adler.
Since 2008, the federal and state governments have funded provenance research into looted Nazi property with a total of 39.6 million Euros, with which 391 projects have been realized to date. The German Lost Art Foundation in Magdeburg, which was founded by the federal government, the states and leading municipal associations on Jan. 1, 2015, is the central point of contact in Germany for issues relating to unlawfully confiscated cultural property. The Foundation receives institutional funding from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, from which it also receives funding for its projects. Applications for longer-term projects can be submitted by January 1 and June 1 of each year.
The German Lost Art Foundation not only funds research projects, it also documents cultural property losses in its publicly accessible database "Lost Art" as search and find reports. The Foundation presents the results of funded research projects in its research database "Proveana" at www.proveana.de.