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Provenance in the World War II Era, 1933 - 1945
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The German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) for Museum Professionals
Deutsch-Amerikanisches Austauschprogramm zur Provenienzforschung für Museen

Update: Application deadline extended to Sunday, October 14, 2018

Program Description

Deutsche Programmbeschreibung
Bewerbungen für PREP müssen über das Smithsonian's online application portal SOLAA erfolgen.

The German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) brings together, for the first time, museum professionals from both sides of the Atlantic who specialize in World War II-era provenance projects for a three-year, systematic exchange. The program expands and elaborates on the methods and practices with which both countries have thus far approached the issues pertaining to Holocaust-era art looting. PREP is also widening the scope of WWII-era provenance research, which to date has given priority to painting, sculpture, and Judaica, by including Asian art, decorative arts, and works on paper.

The primary goal of the program is to create an exchange network of German and American art museum professionals, and of experts in research institutions that support museum work. The participants will include museum curators and provenance researchers, archivists, lawyers, and specialists in information technology and digital humanities, who act as multipliers by facilitating, supporting, and relaying provenance research. Graduate students engaged in WWII-era provenance research relevant to museum collections are also invited to apply for the program.

PREP provides a forum for professional growth and networking; it introduces the participants to available resources and local experts at institutions in both countries and enables specialists to share their areas of expertise. The purpose of these exchanges is to explore research topics, resources, methodologies, and technologies that all participants can learn from so that, as leaders in their field, they can, in turn, generate new joint projects and mentor the next generation of museum professionals. PREP also explores the development of shared technology platforms. At the conclusion of its three-year program, PREP will publish an online guide to World War II-era German/American provenance research resources to expedite research on art losses in the National Socialist era.

PREP's co-organizers—the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and the Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Central Archives of the National Museums in Berlin, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, SPK)—are joined by four partner institutions: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden; and the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich. The new Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste, Magdeburg, is a consultative participant in the program. For more information about project leadership see below.

In their respective cities, these partners will host a total of six Exchanges: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Berlin State Museums in Berlin, 2017; The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and the Central Institute for Art Historical Research in Munich, 2018; and the Dresden State Museums in Dresden and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., 2019. Each PREP Exchange will feature tours of local institutions important to WWII-era provenance research, workshops and colloquia, and each will include an educational program open to the public. PREP will inform and enhance the way provenance research is conducted and conveyed in German and American museums, to benefit the field as a whole.

To date, three PREP Exchanges—the inaugural 1st PREP Exchange in New York (February 2017), the 2nd PREP Exchange in Berlin (October 2017), hosted by the Berlin State Museums, and the 3rd PREP Exchange in LA (February 2018), hosted by the Getty Research Institute—have taken place. Please see below for a list of participating institutions, now included in PREP's rapidly-expanding "provenance research Autobahn," a network of researchers and other museum professionals engaged with art provenance in museums.

Major support for PREP comes from the German Program for Transatlantic Encounters, financed from European Recovery Program funds provided by the late Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). This program continues to promote the ideas of George C. Marshall, who advocated support of transatlantic partnerships to foster mutual understanding. Additional financial support comes from Germany's Federal Commission for Culture and Media (BKM), the Smithsonian Women's Committee, James P. Hayes, Suzanne and Norman Cohn, Ferdinand-Möller-Stiftung, Berlin, Ronald S. Lauder, Neue Galerie New York, the Commission for Art Recovery, and the program's six key partners.

Please see the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin's blog, "Museum and the City," for a series of interviews with some PREP Steering Committee members and 2017 PREP participants.

For audio/video of PREP's public programs:
New York: German/American Exchange on Nazi-Era Provenance Research: A Discussion with Museum Leaders
Berlin: What Takes so Long? Insights into the Practice of Provenance Research for Nazi-Looted Art
Los Angeles: Provenance Research—A Personal Concern

2019 Call for Applications

The organizing and partnering institutions of the Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) for Museum Professionals are pleased to announce the third year of the international, interdisciplinary exchange program for museum professionals who specialize in World War II-era provenance research of art collections.

Over a period of three years, PREP will fund two week-long Exchanges a year for 21 participants (10 from the U.S. and 11 from Germany). A separate application process will take place each year. In each application cycle, the Steering Committee (see below) will select participants from U.S. and German institutions, whose varied expertise and interests will be reflected in the program.

PREP welcomes applications from all art museum professionals engaged in, or committed to, World War II-era provenance projects at their institutions, as well as employees of educational and scholarly institutions that directly support such research. (See the U.S. application criteria and the German application criteria below).

In 2019, PREP will be hosted by the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (March 17-22, 2019) and by the Smithsonian Institution (October 21 - 26, 2019). Travel, lodging, and meals will be covered (within pre-set limits) for all 21 PREP participants for the two programs in both cities. Participants may extend their stay to conduct research at their own expense.

The 2019 PREP application can be accessed after logging into the Smithsonian's Online Application Platform, SOLAA. The application is listed under the "Office of the Undersecretary for History, Art and Culture." The application is called "German American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP)."

Before submitting your application to 2019 PREP, please be sure to:
Upload the four supporting documents (Also described under the "Requested Application Materials" section of the SOLAA "Materials" tab)
     • Current CV in English or German
     • Statement One: What do you hope to gain from PREP? (400 word maximum)
       (titled "Essay" in SOLAA)
       Please address the following in a single document:
           1. What do you hope to gain from your participation in 2018 PREP?
           2. How will your participation benefit your institution?
           3. What challenges in your current work do you hope PREP could address during the
           two Exchanges?
     • Statement Two: What can you contribute to PREP? (400 word maximum)
       (titled "Other" in SOLAA)
       Please address the following in a single document:
           1. What are your WWII-era provenance research interests, resources, or areas of
           2. How have you made accessible (online or in print) the provenance projects that you
           have worked on?
           3. How will you share your experiences in PREP with colleagues and/or the public after
           concluding your participation?
     • Statement Three: "Project/Research Proposal" (500 word maximum)
       Please address the following in a single document:
           1. Which WWII-era provenance research resources can your institution make available
           to PREP participants?
           2. Comment on up to five archives (excluding your own institution) and how their
           resources have been useful to your research.
           3. German applicants: Please list the resources in Los Angeles, ongoing U.S. WWII-era
           provenance projects, U.S. collections, and policies that most interest you.
           U.S. applicants: Please list the resources in Munich, ongoing German WWII-era
           provenance projects, German collections, and policies that most interest you.
Provide contact information for a letter of support
Answer all six Additional Questions

You can save your changes and return to the application at any time before you submit it. Please submit your application only after it is complete.

All applications must be submitted by Sunday, October 14, 2018.
Applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, November 16, 2018.

For questions about the German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program or the application process, please contact or

Selection Criteria Applicants from U.S. Institutions

Museum Professionals:
• Part- or full-time employment at/for a U.S. museum with an art collection; or, part- or full-time employment at/for an art research or educational institution that supports World War II-era provenance research at a U.S. museum
• Experience conducting or facilitating research in U.S. and/or foreign archives
• Working knowledge of German required (reading comprehension and basic listening comprehension)
• Additional criteria defined by position, below:

     • Involvement in World War II-era provenance research projects at your institution,
     whether online, in collections databases, or in publications; or supervision of such projects
     • Expertise in Asian art, decorative arts, or works on paper preferred, but not required

     Provenance Researchers:
     • Expertise in World War II-era provenance research preferred
     • Experience conducting in-depth research in U.S. and/or foreign archives
     • Expertise in provenance research of Asian art, decorative arts, or works on paper preferred, but not required

     Other Specializations (e.g., Archivists, Collections Managers, Registrars, Lawyers,      and Digital Humanities Specialists):
     • Involvement with and commitment to World War II-era research projects at your institution

MA or PhD Students or Post-Graduate Researchers:
• Current or previous experience in World War II-era provenance research that relates to a U.S. museum collection
• Planned or current research project (thesis, dissertation, or publication) that involves World War II-era provenance research. Focus on Asian art, decorative arts, or works on paper preferred, but not required
• Working knowledge of German required (reading comprehension and basic listening comprehension)

Voraussetzungen für Bewerber von deutschen Einrichtungen

Für alle Bewerber aus Deutschland (weitere Kriterien siehe unter den jeweiligen Berufsgruppen):
• Gute Englischkenntnisse
• Kompetenz in der Internet- und Datenbank-Recherche

Für Wissenschaftler/Kuratoren zusätzlich:
• Tätigkeit in einem deutschen Museum, vorzugsweise mit kunstgewerblichen Objekten oder ostasiatischen Objekten oder Arbeiten auf Papier/Grafik
• Interesse an Provenienzforschung und Sammlungsgeschichte

Für Provenienzforscher zusätzlich:
• Tätigkeit für ein Museum oder eine Forschungseinrichtung in Deutschland zum Zeitpunkt der Teilnahme am Austauschprogramm
• Erwünscht aber nicht zwingend sind Erfahrungen in der Provenienzforschung zu ostasiatischer Kunst oder zu Arbeiten auf Papier/Grafik oder zu Kunstgewerbe („large scale collection“)
• Kompetenz in der Archiv-Recherche in Deutschland
• Lesekompetenz in altdeutscher Schrift 19./20. Jhd.

Für Archivare/Museologen/Digital Humanities/Juristen zusätzlich:
• Tätigkeit in einer Museum oder einer Forschungseinrichtung oder in einem Archiv in Deutschland
• starke Bezugspunkte der Tätigkeit zur Provenienzforschung, z.B.
     • Unterstützung von Provenienzrecherchen (Archiv),
     • Dokumentation von Provenienzen in Datenbanken (Museologe),
     • Bereitstellung/Betreuung der IT-Ressourcen (Digital Humanities),
     • juristische Bearbeitung von Restitutionen (Juristen)

Für freie Wissenschaftler/Volontäre zusätzlich:
• Volontariat in einem deutschen Museum mit kunstgewerblichen / ostasiatischen Objekten bzw. Arbeiten auf Papier/Grafik oder im Bereich Provenienzforschung eines Museums
• Arbeit an einer Dissertation oder Post-Doc-Arbeit zu einem Thema aus der Provenienzforschung

Project Leadership / Projektleitung

Co-Chairs / Vorsitz

Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Acting Director of the Freer|Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Hermann Parzinger, Präsident der Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), Berlin

Co-Organizers / Organisatoren

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Central Archives of the National Museums), Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), Berlin

Steering Committee / Steuerungsausschuss

Claudia Einecke, Project Director, German Sales II, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Christel H. Force, Associate Research Curator, Modern and Contemporary, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Christian Fuhrmeister, Forschungsabteilung (Research Department), Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, München
Uwe Hartmann, Leiter des Fachbereichs Provenienzforschung (Head of the Provenance Research Department), Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (German Center for Lost Art), Magdeburg
Gilbert Lupfer, Leiter Forschung und wissenschaftliche Kooperation (Head of Research and Scientific Cooperation), Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections)
Jane Milosch, Director, Smithsonian Provenance Research Exchange Program, Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, Office of International Relations, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Laurie A. Stein, Senior Provenance Advisor, Provenance Research Exchange Program, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Carola Thielecke, Justiziarin (Counsel), Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
Petra Winter, Leiterin des Zentralarchivs der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Director, Central Archives of the National Museums in Berlin), Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin

Participating Institutions To Date

Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Archiv der Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona; Art Institute of Chicago; Asia Society Museum; Association of Art Museum Directors; Austrian Commission for Provenance Research; Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich; Berlinische Galerie, Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur, Künstler-Archive; Bode Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv Potsdam; Bundesarchiv; Carnegie Museum of Art; Centrum Judaicum; Christie's Education Center, New York; City of Düsseldorf; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Detroit Institute of Art; Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection; Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University; Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, University of Southern California; Freer|Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution; Frick Art Research Library; Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz; GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Institute für Kunstwissenschaft, Technische Universität Berlin; J. Paul Getty Museum; J. Paul Getty Trust; Jewish Museum New York; Klassik Stiftung Weimar; Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Kupferstichkabinett, Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin; Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten; Landesarchiv Berlin; Leo Baeck Institute, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich; Meadows Museum, Dallas; Museum Angewandte Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Museum Berggruen; Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art; National Archives and Records Administration; Nationalgalerie; Neue Galerie New York; San Antonio Museum of Art; School of Culture & Creative Arts, University of Glasgow; Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; Städel Museum, Frankfurt; The Center for the History of Collecting, The Frick Collection; The Corning Museum of Glass; The Frick Collection; The Jewish Museum Berlin; The Morgan Library & Museum; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

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