Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

last amended on 20. April 2017

Work and progress

The Gurlitt art find con­tains 1566 art­works that were found at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions.

‘Schwabing Art Trove’ Task­force

Ac­cord­ing to its Fi­nal Re­port, is­sued on 14 Jan­uary 2016, the ‘Schwabing Art Trove’ Task­force man­aged to clar­i­fy the prove­nance of and clas­si­fy a to­tal of 573 works:

  • 231 were iden­ti­fied as ‘de­gen­er­ate art’ and cleared of sus­pi­cion of be­ing loot­ed di­rect­ly from Jew­ish own­ers;
  • 278 of the art­works were de­ter­mined to be the prop­er­ty of the Gurlitt fam­i­ly (i.e. the artists are ei­ther mem­bers of the Gurlitt fam­i­ly or the works bear a ded­i­ca­tion from the artist to a mem­ber of the Gurlitt fam­i­ly);
  • 5 art­works were iden­ti­fied con­clu­sive­ly as Nazi-con­fis­cat­ed art;
  • 2 works were clas­si­fied as Nazi-loot­ed art de­spite small gaps in the chain of cus­tody;
  • the prove­nance of 4 works was clas­si­fied as un­sus­pi­cious;
  • 53 works were clas­si­fied as non-iden­ti­fi­able mass-pro­duced items and have been re­moved from the project (e.g. pages from cal­en­dars).

The Gurlitt Prove­nance Re­search Project

The Gurlitt Prove­nance Re­search Project is cur­rent­ly in­ves­ti­gat­ing 1039 works: 46 of these had been ten­ta­tive­ly cat­e­gorised by the ‘Schwabing Art Trove’ Task­force where­as the re­main­ing 993 with no fi­nal cat­e­gori­sa­tion can be grouped as fol­lows:

  • 696 works for which the sus­pi­cion of Nazi-loot­ing could not yet be ruled out;
  • 297 ob­jects that are sus­pect­ed of be­ing ex­am­ples of ‘de­gen­er­ate art’ which, how­ev­er, may al­so have been seized by the Nazis from their right­ful own­ers, such as works loaned to pub­lic mu­se­ums by peo­ple who suf­fered per­se­cu­tion on po­lit­i­cal or racial grounds.

The Gurlitt Prove­nance Re­search Project has ini­tial­ly pri­ori­tised 189 works (PDF, 4 MB) for more in-depth re­search. In these cas­es, there is ei­ther (a) some ev­i­dence in­di­cat­ing that the works were ex­pro­pri­at­ed by the Nazis on po­lit­i­cal or racial grounds, or (b) claims for the re­turn of the works have been sub­mit­ted, or (c) there is good rea­son to be­lieve that their prove­nance can be con­clu­sive­ly clar­i­fied. Thor­ough ba­sic re­search in line with es­tab­lished schol­ar­ly stan­dards was car­ried out for all of the works in the project. The overview is avail­able here.
Some 66 works (PDF, 999 KB) (unique ob­jects such as paint­ings, wa­ter­colours etc.), from the group sus­pect­ed of be­ing ‘de­gen­er­ate art/pos­si­bly Nazi-loot­ed art’ were sent to an ex­pert for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Progress Re­port 2016

  • In the 2016 fund­ing pe­ri­od, a to­tal of 600 art­works were suc­ces­sive­ly re­searched or as­signed to un­der­go more de­tailed scruti­ny. 46 of these had been pre-clas­si­fied by the Task­force;
  • de­tailed re­ports were cre­at­ed for 472 works in 2016, and 128 fur­ther works were more ex­ten­sive­ly re­searched, but still re­quire con­tin­ued ex­am­i­na­tion;
  • 58 art­works were giv­en fi­nal clas­si­fi­ca­tion. In 4 of these cas­es, in 2016 the project team re­viewed and con­firmed an ear­li­er clas­si­fi­ca­tion by the Task­force;
  • art­works cur­rent­ly clas­si­fied as sus­pect­ed Nazi-loot­ed art can be found here; In these cas­es there is ei­ther some ev­i­dence in­di­cat­ing that the works were ex­pro­pri­at­ed by the Nazis on po­lit­i­cal or racial grounds, or claims for the re­turn of the works or re­quests for in­for­ma­tion on them have been sub­mit­ted. The clas­si­fi­ca­tion of these works as sus­pi­cious cas­es is based on the Fi­nal Re­port of the ‘Schwabing Art Trove’ Task­force from 14.01.2016 and on the on­go­ing progress re­ports sub­mit­ted to the project. The clas­si­fi­ca­tion is pre­lim­i­nary and sub­ject to change as re­search con­tin­ues.
  • 33 art­works were ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­im re­port iden­ti­fied as be­long­ing to the cat­e­go­ry of ‘de­gen­er­ate art’ and cleared of sus­pi­cion of be­ing Nazi-loot­ed art based on de­pend­able ac­ces­sion in­for­ma­tion from the re­spec­tive mu­se­ums; 19 art­works were fi­nal­ly cat­e­go­rized as “de­gen­er­ate art” that was ac­quired by the re­spec­tive mu­se­ums be­fore 1933

In the 2017 fund­ing pe­ri­od the project will ad­dress

  • 659 works for which the sus­pi­cion of Nazi-loot­ing could not yet be ruled out;
  • 2 ob­jects that had been clas­si­fied Nazi-loot­ed art by the Task­force de­spite ex­ist­ing gaps in their prove­nance, will be in­ves­ti­gat­ed fur­ther hop­ing to close the gap;
  • 319 works that are sus­pect­ed of be­ing ex­am­ples of ‘de­gen­er­ate art’ which, how­ev­er, may al­so have been seized by the Nazis from their right­ful own­ers, such as works loaned to pub­lic mu­se­ums by peo­ple who suf­fered per­se­cu­tion on po­lit­i­cal or racial grounds.

As of 24 March 2017, some 374 works were un­der­go­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion by ex­perts.

Note: Re­search on some works from the 2016 project phase will con­tin­ue in 2017, be­cause there is good rea­son to be­lieve that their prove­nance can be con­clu­sive­ly clar­i­fied. These works ap­pear in the work overviews for 2016 and 2017. These in­clude, for ex­am­ple, works from the work­ing cat­e­go­ry ‘sus­pi­cious cas­es’.