Provenance Research

Provenance Research at the Kunsthalle zu Kiel

Paintings and Sculptures

© Kunsthalle zu Kiel
© Kunsthalle zu Kiel

Since May 2015, the Kunsthalle zu Kiel has systematically examined its holdings in a project funded by the Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste. It scrutinises whether there are paintings or sculptures in the collection that were taken from their owners as a result of persecution during the Nazi era (1933–1945). At a second stage the Collection of Prints and Drawings is to be examined. If any artworks are found where this proves to be the case, then the Kunsthalle’s goal is to track down their rightful owners or their descendants. It will then either seek to restitute the respective items or, based on mutual agreement with the owners, preserve them as part of the collection. Within the framework of the project, all acquisitions since 1933 through to the present will be investigated. Research activities focus on the provenance of those artworks that were made no later than 1945, among them, for example, paintings of the romantic era or expressionism, as well as modern sculptures.

As a term, “provenance” is used to designate the source or “biography” of an artwork. It provides information about when a painting or a sculpture belonged to whom and where it was kept. Provenance research is one of the key tasks of museum work and can, for example, also provide answers to issues of authenticity.


In this project, the Kunsthalle zu Kiel is researching and analysing the complex development of its own collection and the chequered history of its works of art since Nazi rule in Germany. An outreach program will accompany the course of the research and make the results known to the general public on completion.

Contact person:
Dr. Kai Hohenfeld
Telephone +49 431 88057-85

Project supervisor:
Dr. Annette Weisner
Telephone +49 431 88057-80