Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Smithsonian Home

home | site index | contacts

Provenance in the World War II Era, 1933 - 1945
   Provenance in the World War II Era, 1933-1945         Object Database         Additional Resources         News         SPRI         PREP    

Home  >  News


2018 Call for Applications: German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) for Museum Professionals

June 2017

The Smithsonian Institution and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz announce the second year of exchanges under the German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) for Museum Professionals, 2017-2019. PREP welcomes applications from museum professionals who specialize in World War II-era provenance research in Germany and the U.S.

The Getty Research Institute will host the 3rd Exchange in Los Angeles, February 26-March 2, 2018. The Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte will host the 4th Exchange in Munich, October 8-12, 2018.

For more information about PREP, please visit
The application for the 2018 program will be open until September 15, 2017.

Public Program: "A Question of Provenance: Holocaust-era Art, Research, and Restitution"

May 2017

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, SPRI and Smithsonian Associates organized a public program, "A Question of Provenance: Holocaust-era Art, Research, and Restitution," in cooperation with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Washington, DC.
Panelists included: Jane Milosch, SPRI; Meike Hoffmann, Degenerate Art Research Center, Free University of Berlin; Sophie Lillie, independent scholar and specialist in pre-war private collecting and patronage in Vienna; Shlomit Steinberg, Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Yehudit Shendar, Yad Vashem (The World Holocaust Remembrance Center), Jerusalem; and Andrea Baresel-Brand, German Center for Lost Art.
Please click here to read an article about the May 10 public program by Smithsonian Magazine.

Generous support for the May 10 program came from Suzanne and Norman Cohn, with additional support from Jane and Arthur Mason.

On May 11, SPRI and the German Embassy in Washington sponsored a provenance research roundtable and lunch. The event featured the panelists from the May 10 public program and approximately 25 representatives from museums, archives, auction houses, and embassies. The group discussed WWII-era provenance projects in the United States, Germany, and Israel.

Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) for Museum Professionals, 1st Exchange Public Program and Livestream

February 2017

On Friday, February 10, 2017, 2-4 pm EST, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be hosting the "German/American Exchange on Nazi-Era Provenance Research: A Discussion with Museum Leaders," a public program associated with the German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) for Museum Professionals. The livestream of the event can be found at

The speakers include: Thomas Campbell, Director and CEO, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Lynn Nicholas, Independent scholar and author; Sharon Cott, Senior Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Hermann Parzinger, President, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Berlin, and Co-Chair PREP, 2017-19; Thomas W. Gaehtgens, Director, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; and Richard Kurin, Acting Provost/Under Secretary for Museums and Research, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, and Co-Chair PREP, 2017-19.

Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) for Museum Professionals, 2017-2019

October 2016

"The Smithsonian and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), two of the world's largest museum, education and research complexes, have established a new research exchange program. The German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program for Museum Professionals (PREP) will, for the first time, bring together museum professionals from both sides of the Atlantic who specialize in World War II-era provenance research for a three-year, systematic exchange (2017-2019)." To learn more, please see the Smithsonian Newsdesk press release or visit the PREP webpage.

Smithsonian Institution and the University of Glasgow sign an MOU

April 2016

The Smithsonian Institution and the University of Glasgow signed a Memorandum of Understanding on April 8, 2016, to expand their 20-year relationship. One of the MoU's first results is a partnership between the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative and the University's College of Art to launch the first graduate and post-graduate program on provenance research, "Collecting and Provenance in an International Context." For more information, please click here.

Publication: Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, a focus issue on "Provenance Research in American Institutions"

AltaMira Press
June 2014

Bringing together the expertise of independent scholars and professionals who are affiliated with American institutions, this issue aims to foster dialogue among museums, archives, and research centers and to broaden the accessibility of information. The collection of articles opens with a Foreword by Megan M. Fontanella and an introduction by Lynn H. Nicholas. A closer look at resources and initiatives is offered in the following articles: "Provenance: Not the Problem (The Solution): Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative" by Jane C. Milosch; "Princes, Dukes, and Counts: Pedigrees and Problems in the Kress Collection" by Nancy H. Yeide; "The 'German Sales 1930-1945' Database Project" by Christian Huemer; and Laurie A. Stein's "'Everyone Brings a Piece to the Puzzle': Conversations with Elaine Rosenberg and Reflections on Provenance Research among The Paul Rosenberg Archives." Case studies include: "Navigating the Gray Area: Pechstein's Girl Combing Her Hair, the Littman Collection, and the Limits of Evidence" by Catherine Herbert; "Researching the Wertheim Collection at the Harvard Art Museums" by Elizabeth M. Rudy; "One Painting Concealed Behind Another: Picasso's La Douleur (1903) and Guitar, Gas-Jet, and Bottle (1913)" by Christel Hollevoet-Force; "The Eugene Garbaty Collection of European Art" by Victoria Reed; and Dorota Chudzicka's "'In Love at First Sight Completely, Hopelessly, and Forever with Chinese Art': The Eugene and Agnes Meyer Collection of Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art." Perspectives on legal claims include Gary Vikan's "Provenance Research and Unprovenanced Cultural Property" and Stephen W. Clark's "Nazi-Era Claims and Art Museums: The American Perspective".

Order a copy  >

A Guide to Provenance Research at the Archives of American Art

The Archives of American Art features an extensive and mutli-dimensional collection, including nearly 200 gallery archives, providing some of the most fruitful resources for documenting the history of European art collecting and for American and international provenance studies. With the support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Archives of American Art has created detailed Web-searchable online electronic finding aids for eleven archival collections that are central to provenance research for the history of art duirng World War II.

Learn more about the project >

View the guide >

World War II Provenance Research Seminar:
A New Era of Collaboration and Digitized Resources

May 6-7, 2011
United States National Archives
Washington, DC

This two-day seminar presented new resources and strategies for provenance research, emphasized current international collaborative projects and introduced newly accessible electronic tools.

The seminar was sponsored by the United States National Archives, Association of Art Museum Directors, American Association of Museums, and the Smithsonian Institution, with additional support provided by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation and James P. Hayes.

Learn more about the speakers, their presentations, and post questions >

Find out more about provenance, lost works and related topics.

what is provenance? >

cultural property in the world war II era >

about this Web site >

Learn more about the provenance of our collection objects in the object database.

begin your search now >