Provenance Research in the Paintings Gallery and the Graphics Collection
Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport (BMKÖS) | Commission for Provenance Research
Duration: 1.1.2013 – ongoing
The lawyer and art historian René Schober started an extensive provenance research project at the Gemäldegalerie (Paintings Gallery) and the Kupferstichkabinett (Graphics Collection) of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna on January 1st, 2013 on behalf of the Commission for Provenance Research of the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture (now at the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport). Starting in October 2016 the political scientist Konstantin Ferihumer resumed the provenance research project. Konstantin Ferihumer had worked previously at the Art Collection of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Further keywords of his previous works are National Socialism, post-war jurisdiction and politics of history.
The art-works of the Gemäldegalerie (Paintings Gallery) and the Kupferstichkabinett (Graphics Collection) of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna are property of the State of Austria. Due to that fact all works of art have to be investigated according to the Austrian Kunstrückgabegesetz (Art Restitution Act) in order to determine if they had been misappropriated illegally during the NS-regime. As a first step, all works of art belonging to the collection of the Gemäldegalerie (Paintings Gallery) which had been generated before 1945 and were acquired after 1933 will be considered. First studying in-house sources such as inventories, archives, appraisal of art-works and literature will lead to a reconstruction of all their stations of provenance. As a second step, research will be expanded to various other libraries, archives and databases. All results will be documented in the gallery database. This will ensure a systematic, sustainable and comprehensible process of provenance research. On completion of provenance research at the Gemäldegalerie (Paintings Gallery), the collection of the Kupferstichkabinett (Graphics Collection) will be investigated.
If any unlawfully dispossessed works of art will be discovered, the process of illegal misappropriation will be documented in dossiers. Based on these dossiers the Art Restitution Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport will decide on the restitution of these works of art to their former owners or their legal successors.
For further information on provenance research of the State of Austria: http://www.provenienzforschung.gv.at