Suspicion of theft, confiscation or sale under duress
This website presents objects which are considered likely to have been stolen, confiscated or sold under duress between 1933 and 1945. In many cases, even after investigation, it is not possible to trace the precise provenance of a work of art. Anyone who has any information about the provenance of any of the objects shown here should contact the museum concerned. They may be able to help museum staffers reconstruct the missing provenance. In other cases in which theft or transfer of property under duress has clearly occurred, the museum is required to try to contact family members or heirs of the original owner. The provenance of each object is shown and the reason for suspecting that it may have been stolen or relinquished under duress is given.
Indications of a possibly problematic provenance
Objects with (possibly) problematic provenance are identified according the following criteria:
- Objects that belonged to Jewish collectors or dealers in the years 1933-1945, without a clear indication that the item was sold or given in an entirely voluntary and proper manner.
- Objects sold at auction in Germany between 1933 and 1945 and in Austria in the years 1938-1945, which may have included items that had been confiscated.
- Objects that had been in the hands of auction houses, dealers and private individuals known to have been involved with stolen art between 1933 and 1945, or whose business dealings were such that are likely to have been dealt in stolen art, such as the small local Dutch auction houses in the years 1940 to 1945.
- Objects confiscated by Dutch authorities after the war, objects acquired by collaborators and war criminals and objects abandoned by Germans after 1945.
- Anonymous gifts to museums in the period after 1945, especially in the immediate postwar years.
- Objects registered in the collection in an unorthodox manner or with a suspicious comment.
- Objects linked to other specific indications not be covered by the above criteria and which suggest doubt.
A list of all the objects can be found under Objects.