Provenance research is one of the central tasks of conscientious gallery or museum work. It concerns the origin or ‘biography’ of works of art.
Since 2014, the Kunsthalle zu Kiel has systematically examined its holdings. In particular, we examine whether works of art in the collection were confiscated from their previous owners during the Nazi era (1933-1945) due to persecution. If such ‘looted art’ is identified, the rightful owners must be identified, and the works returned. The basis for this procedure was established in the Washingtoner Prinzipien.
In October 2017, the project involving the paintings and sculptures holdings was completed (Dossiers). One painting was restituted (Vasilij Polenov, Waldweiher, 1881), and 16 other paintings are suspected to be looted art. They are listed as finds in ther Lost Art-database.
From 2018 to 2020, the project investigated the provenance of around 600 works of art from the Prints and Drawings Department (Proveana research report in German) that entered the collection between 1933 and 1950. Currently, a two-year follow-up project on acquisitions of the Prints and Drawings Department from 1951 to 1998 has been running since May 2023. 820 works whose whereabouts between 1933 and 1945 have not been clarified will be examined during the two-year funding period.