provenance research

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion
BROWSE provenance research COLLECTION
View all works covered by the Provenance Research Project

As part of its mission, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University conducts and publishes research on the art in its collections. One important component of that research is the documentation of a work's provenance, or previous history of ownership before it was acquired by the museum. In December 1999 the American Association of Museums (AAM) issued its Guidelines Concerning the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During the Nazi Era, asking museums to identify works in their collections with incomplete provenances for the years 1933 to 1945. During this period many artworks were unlawfully seized by the Nazis from public and private collections. The Nasher Museum participates in the AAM’s provenance website, the Nazi-Era Provenance Information Portal (NEPIP.org). The Nasher Museum also subscribes to the Art Loss Register (www.artloss.com) and regularly uploads information on works in the museum's collections with incomplete provenances.

The Nasher Museum’s aim is to compile all known provenance information for works in its collection created before 1946, transferred after 1932 and before 1946, and which were, or could have been, in continental Europe during the Nazi Era. This information will be posted on this site.

Gaps in provenance are common and do not in themselves constitute evidence of looting from archeological sites or seizure by the Nazis. It is often the case that records do not survive from half a century ago. Provenance research is an ongoing process, and the Nasher Museum welcomes any information that the public has on the ownership history of works in its collections. For further assistance, please contact: Molly Boarati, Assistant Curator (molly.boarati@duke.edu).

Collection Highlights

  • Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion
  • Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion
  • Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion
  • Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion