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Provenance in the World War II Era, 1933 - 1945
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Explore the History of our Collection Objects

In order to aid in the identification and discovery of objects that may have been subject to questionable transfer of ownership or unlawful appropriation during the World War II Era, the Smithsonian museums are working to identify all objects in their collections that were created before 1946, were acquired after 1932, that underwent a change of ownership during 1933-1945, and that were, or might have been, in continental Europe between those dates ("covered objects"). The Smithsonian Institution is committed to making information on these objects available to the public.

What is Provenance Research?

Provenance is the history of ownership of an artwork and provides important information about the attribution (determination of authorship) of the object.

learn more about provenance research >

learn more about this site >

Search the Object Database

Explore all available information on "covered objects" in Smithsonian museum collections:

search the object database >

Read about ongoing research into the provenance of Asian artworks:

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: Provenance Project >

Tools for the Researcher

Researching the provenance of works of art is a fundamental aspect of curatorial work.

view the bibliography >

visit other lost art databases >