Paris France's Louvre Museum Teams with Sotheby's to Investigate Provenance of Works Bought During WWll #holocaust #france #general

Jan Meisels Allen



Sotheby’s auction house will help the Paris Louvre Museum research the history of items the museum acquired between 1933 and 1945 which may lead to “restitutions.” The agreement is for three years will help fund research which may led to restitutions digitization, the organization of seminars, study days and publications.


It is the first international auction house to have a department dedicated to provenance research and restitution.” Sotheby’s restitution department was founded in 1997.


“Last year, the Louvre launched an online database of 485,000 object records drawn from dozens of internal databases. More than 1,700 works that were recovered in Germany after the Second World War but have never been returned to the descendants of their rightful owners are listed under the category of Musées Nationaux Récupération. The works do not belong to the French state but are managed by the Louvre and entrusted to French national museums for safekeeping. A Louvre spokeswoman says that the “partnership with Sotheby’s concerns works which are in the Louvre collections, not the MNR”.


On January 27, The International Day of Film on Art, the Louvre plans a day of film screenings aas part of the joint program, The event includes The Art Market During the Occupation, a 2021 documentary based on the findings of the art historian Emmanuelle Polack who was appointed by the Louvre in 2020 to investigate acquisitions made both before and after the Second World War.


A study day is also scheduled for 2 February which will focus on “the chain of transfer of ownership of works and cultural objects… in the light of the German Occupation and the Vichy laws.” Other topics covered include “purchases at public auction [by] the Egyptian Department of Antiquities between 1933 and 1945”.


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Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


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