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’.