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. At the Kunsthalle zu Kiel, the provenance of around 600 artworks from the Prints and Drawings Collection was investigated from 2018 to 2020 (Dossier in German follows). A follow-up project comprising 800 works is planned from 2022.

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.

For more information on provenance research:


Lost Art Internet Database

Washington Principles

Project Manager

Dr. Annette Weisner
Head of Collection Prints and Drawings and Provenance, Curator
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