Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

2022.05.25

Under the first round of proposals in 2022, the German Lost Art Foundation approved around 1.6 million euros for nine research projects dealing with colonial contexts

When we talk of former colonies, we tend to mean regions in the so-called Global South. But colonial oppression took place in the far north, too: the Sámi suffered under so-called “Nordic colonialism”. The only indigenous societies in Europe – those situated in the northern regions of Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Kola Peninsula in Russia – lost most of the material evidence of their culture as a result of oppression by the nation states. The most important Sámi collection outside Northern Europe is currently to be found in the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK – Museum of European Cultures) in Berlin-Dahlem. This inventory is now to be systematically processed: as part of a project funded by the German Lost Art Foundation and in close cooperation with Sámi partners, the MEK is investigating the origins of some 1,000 objects and photographs. More details: Under the first round of proposals in 2022, the German Lost Art Foundation approved around 1.6 million euros for nine research projects dealing with colonial contexts …

2022.05.19

In the first round of funding in 2022, the German Lost Art Foundation granted some 3.1 million euros for 24 provenance research projects on the subject of Nazi-looted property

On the morning of 6 May 1933, a group of German students stormed the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexual Science) in Berlin-Tiergarten, rioting and looting. Four days later, the looted writings were burned on Berlin’s Opernplatz. Institute director Magnus Hirschfeld later estimated that 12,000 of his books had fallen victim to the National Socialist regime’s book burning. Large parts of his library and archive went up in flames, while the remaining archives, patient files, works of art, demonstration items and sexual objects were destroyed, stolen, sold and distributed. Hirschfeld later reacquired some of these items in exile with the aim of re-establishing his institute in Paris. But this was not to be: the sex education expert, who is today considered a pioneer of queer emancipation movements, died in Nice on his 67th birthday in 1935. As part of a project funded by the German Lost Art Foundation, the society founded in his name – Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft e.V. – will now attempt to reconstruct the lost collection and the confiscation that continued until 1936. The aim is to produce an illustrated catalogue that can be used by museums and collections to check their holdings. More details: In the first round of funding in 2022, the German Lost Art Foundation granted some 3.1 million euros for 24 provenance research projects on the subject of Nazi-looted property …

2022.03.18

Expropriated, confiscated, sold: German Lost Art Foundation publishes scholarly anthology on the reappraisal of the loss of cultural property in the Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR

Some lost works of art – others were robbed of their entire livelihood: in the GDR, whole collections were extorted from private individuals, art dealers were forced to go out of business, and public museums were coerced into handing over works of art so that the notoriously poor state could sell them to the West for foreign currency. The injustice affected castle owners and refugees alike: many cases have since been settled by rule of law, but no thorough reappraisal has been carried out. For this reason, the German Lost Art Foundation in Magdeburg is bringing out an anthology entitled Enteignet, entzogen, verkauft (‘Expropriated, confiscated, sold’) which will be officially published on 21 March 2022 and sheds scholarly light on the state-organised confiscation of cultural property in the Soviet occupation zone and the GDR. Prof. Dr. Gilbert Lupfer, Director of the German Lost Art Foundation: “The various methods and strategies by which works of art and other cultural assets were confiscated by the state in the Soviet occupation zone and the GDR have still not been sufficiently elucidated. The German Lost Art Foundation is helping to close this gap by funding basic research projects. This newly presented anthology reports on the results of such projects, enriching them with further investigations. It will significantly expand the knowledge base in this field.” More details: Expropriated, confiscated, sold: German Lost Art Foundation publishes scholarly anthology on the reappraisal of the loss of cultural property in the Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR …

2021.12.21

“Lost Art” website relaunched

The German Lost Art Foundation redesigned the website of the most extensive database worldwide for Nazi-looted art for a more up-to-date appearance and increased user-friendliness. More details: “Lost Art” website relaunched …

2021.11.17

“Dealing with our own colonial past”: The German Lost Art Foundation hosts the digital autumn conference “The Long History of Claims for the Return of Cultural Heritage from Colonial Contexts”

The debate around the return of cultural goods to former colonial regions is highly topical – and at the same time much older than most assume. In the digital autumn conference “The Long History of Claims for the Return of Cultural Heritage from Colonial Contexts” from 17 to 19 November 2021 in cooperation with Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Research Center for Material Culture of the National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands, the German Lost Art Foundation investigates the long history of claims for restitution of cultural goods and human remains from colonised countries. More details: “Dealing with our own colonial past”: The German Lost Art Foundation hosts the digital autumn conference “The Long History of Claims for the Return of Cultural Heritage from Colonial Contexts” …

2021.10.28

German Lost Art Foundation awards funds for research on Benin bronzes and also grants approximately 912,000 euros for long-term research projects on colonial contexts

The so-called “Benin bronzes” are at the heart of the debate on the return of cultural goods to formerly colonized countries. With the support of the German Lost Art Foundation, the provenance of around 90 Benin bronzes is to be investigated. The aim is to clarify whether they also belong to those objects that were looted from the Royal Palace of Benin in 1897. The Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim, the Museum Fünf Kontinente in Munich and the Übersee-Museum in Bremen are to receive funding for research projects applied for at short notice. From 2022, the first Benin bronzes held in German museums and institutions are to be returned to Nigeria. More details: German Lost Art Foundation awards funds for research on Benin bronzes and also grants approximately 912,000 euros for long-term research projects on colonial contexts …