Accessible Data for improved Provenance Research

Proveana is the name of a new research database at the German Lost Art Foundation. Notably, it displays the results of research projects that were funded by the Foundation. The objective is to support provenance research through documenting historical information, thereby making it more transparent and contributing to the solution of unresolved cases. Proveana comprises four research areas: cultural assets seized due to national socialist persecution (Nazi-looted art), cultural assets displaced during wartime (war booty), cultural assets seized in the Soviet-occupied zone and the GDR, as well as cultural assets and collections from colonial contexts. The database allows searches for people, corporations, events, collections, provenance information, objects and further documentary sources. Searches in Proveana also include the contents of the Lost Art database, as well as links to further databases. Proveana provides assistance for those whose cultural assets were seized, for their descendants, for scholars, for everybody involved in the trade with cultural goods, for the media, and for policy-makers.

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Insights into selected research projects

Vorstudie zur Rekonstruktion des Besitzes von Kunst- und Kulturgut, über das Baldur von Schirach und seine Ehefrau Henriette zwischen 1933 und 1945 verfügten [...]

Ermittlung der Provenienz von zwei Werken aus der Sammlung von Lemmers-Danforth, Tischuhr in Form eines Elefanten, Spieltisch der Diane de Portiers

Suche nach NS-Raubgut in den Beständen der Stadtbibliothek Bautzen, SG Altbestand/Regionalkunde im Zugangszeitraum 1933-1945

Topics presented

Gurlitt Art Trove

Refers to the 1,566 masterpieces and materials discovered between 2012 and 2014 at the properties of Cornelius Gurlitt (1932–2014), son of the art historian and Nazi art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt (1896–1956).
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Database of Art and Artifacts Auctions

Contains information from the holdings of the Landesarchiv Berlin, A Rep. 243-04 (Reich Chamber of Fine Arts—Berlin state administration), particularly on registrations of auctions or auction reports with details of auctions, auction houses, consignors, purchasers and objects to be auctioned; possibly also valuations, sales values and limits.
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Bergungsstelle und Bergungsaufträge (Recovery Office and Recovery Orders)

The Recovery Office existed from July 1945 to February 1946 and recovered over 200 private and public libraries across the entire city of Berlin. The recovery reports of the Recovery Office for Academic Libraries are important sources for the libraries’ provenance research.
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Jewish Collectors and Art Dealers

From 1933, Jewish art collectors and dealers were targeted victims of Nazi persecution and confiscation, with the aim of “utilizing” their art collections.
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Auslagerungs- und Verlagerungsorte geraubten Kulturgutes (Storage and removal sites of looted artifacts)

Looted cultural goods, including those from private owners, were stored in numerous places such as castles, palaces and mining tunnels between 1933 and 1945.
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Administrative Offices and Persons in Charge

The National Socialist regime organized the looting of cultural goods in a systematic way. For this purpose, numerous administrative offices were set up and functionaries given the appropriate powers.
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Private Persons and Corporate Bodies Involved in Nazi Looting of Art

Many private individuals and institutions were involved in the Nazi looting of art, for example through trading, brokering, evaluation, transportation and so on.
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Kunstschutz

Refers to the protection of cultural goods and historic monuments during wartime. According to the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, it is one of the obligations of military administrations in occupied countries. During the hostilities and German occupation of countries in Europe between 1939 and 1945, the German military art protection department was partly used for, and actively involved in, the looting of cultural property.
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