Nazi-Era Provenance of Museum Collections

A research guide

Jacques Schuhmacher


ISBN: 9781800086906

Publication: June 03, 2024

Series: Co-published with V&A

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When we look at the artworks on display in museums, there is always a real possibility that some of these objects once belonged to victims of the Nazis – a possibility that has remained unacknowledged for far too long. Countless artworks were seized or forcibly sold, with many ending up in museum collections around the world, even in countries which actively fought to defeat Nazi Germany.

Nazi-Era Provenance of Museum Collections equips readers with the knowledge and strategies essential for confronting the shadow of the Nazi past in museum collections. Jacques Schuhmacher provides the vital historical orientation required to understand the Nazis’ complex campaign of systematic dispossession and extermination, and highlights the current environment in which museum-based Nazi-era provenance research takes place. This book introduces readers to the research methods and resources that can be used to reveal the moving stories behind the objects. Provenance research not only seeks to recover erased names and experiences and to reinsert them into a historical record, but also to ensure that the Nazis’ actions and worldview do not remain unchallenged in the galleries and storerooms of our museums today.

Dr Jacques Schuhmacher is Senior Provenance Research Curator (supported by The Polonsky Foundation) at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

List of figures
Foreword by Edmund de Waal


1 Persecution and dispossession, 1933-45

2 After the war: Nazi-era provenance research today

3 Research strategies and resources: uncovering the stories behind museum objects

Sources and Bibliography

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

182 Pages

25 colour photo/halftones and 29 B&W photo/halftones

Copyright: © 2024

ISBN: 9781800086906

Publication: June 03, 2024

Series: Co-published with V&A

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